Kaine: Comey Letter 'Probably the Lowest Moment in the History of the FBI'

May 5, 2017

Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on Friday that the letter FBI Director James Comey sent to Congress days before the 2016 election notifying lawmakers of the reopened investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices was "probably the lowest moment in the history of the FBI" next to wiretapping Martin Luther King Jr.

Clinton on Tuesday attributed her loss in the 2016 presidential election to Comey's letter, insisting that she "was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on Oct. 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off."

The following day, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and discussed why he sent the letter to Congress and the 2016 election more broadly.

Camerota asked Kaine, Clinton's running mate on the 2016 Democratic ticket, if he agreed with the former secretary of state when she "seemed to hang the loss at the feet of Director James Comey."

"I think the testimony made something really plain," Kaine responded. "There were two rules that the FBI follows with respect to elections. They don't talk about ongoing investigations and don't put out controversial material on the eve of an election."

Comey "made the decision himself to break both of those rules with respect to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, and he made a decision to follow the rules and keep silent about the investigation into the Trump campaign's connections with a Russian effort to destabilize the American electoral process," Kaine continued.

Camerota then asked Kaine if he agreed with Clinton that Comey's letter was the "biggest factor" in deciding the outcome of the election.

"I didn't say that," Kaine responded. "I'm just saying Director Comey testified this week, and he made it very plain that he broke the FBI rules with respect to the Clinton campaign, and he chose not to break the rules with respect to the Trump campaign. And that was a factor."

The Virginia Democrat then called Comey's letter one of the FBI's "lowest moments" in its history.

"It will go down as probably the lowest moment in the history of the FBI, probably next to the decision of J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Martin Luther King. And it was unfortunate," Kaine said.

"But look," Kaine added, pivoting to the American Health Care Act, "we're all now in our places with jobs to do, and chief among those jobs is protecting the health care of all Americans."

The House voted to pass the Republican plan to replace Obamacare on Thursday.