Elise Stefanik (R., NY) clashed with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Ca.) Tuesday during a House Intelligence Committee hearing. Schiff claimed Stefanik was wrong about former FBI director James Comey's testimony concerning when Congress was informed about the investigation into the Trump campaign.
The New York representative questioned Andrew McCarthy during a committee hearing yesterday about notifying congressional leadership when an investigation is opened into a political campaign. She specifically referred to the FBI opening its investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, a counter-intelligence investigation codenamed "Crossfire Hurricane."
Former FBI Director James Comey testified in March of 2017 that congressional leadership was not notified until that month about the investigation due to its sensitive nature.
"We know now that the FBI opened its counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, but they did not brief the Gang of Eight until March 2017 just days before former director Comey publicly announced the investigation during a March 20th, 2017 open hearing before this committee," Stefanik said yesterday.
Schiff tried to correct Stefanik, telling her that her timeline was not correct, to which Stefanik doubled down.
"Regarding the timeline, it was clear in the open hearing in front of this committee that director Comey testified that he chose not to brief the Gang of Eight on the opening of the counter-intelligence investigations," Stefanik said.
"I hope you would agree based upon the testimony of Director Comey that he circumvented the process," she added later.
"I would only say that that was not his testimony," Schiff responded. "The first time he was briefing the counter-intelligence investigation to us was contemporaneous with his disclosing it to the public." Stefanik responded that Schiff was misrepresenting her statement.
A subsequent tweet from Stefanik confirmed her claims about Comey's testimony. The video of Comey's March 2017 testimony shows Comey admitting that the FBI delayed notifying congressional leadership about the investigation into the Trump campaign.
Stefanik asked Comey why Comey delayed his decision to brief congressional leadership.
.@RepAdamSchiff didn’t believe me today when I told him Comey circumvented Congress by opening an investigation into the Trump campaign. Maybe he’ll change his mind once he hears it straight from Comey’s mouth? WATCH ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/xHtmGZTERe
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) June 12, 2019
"I think that our decision was because it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn't include it in the quarterly briefings," Comey said at the time.
"Again, to get the detailed on the record, why was the decision made not to brief senior congressional leadership until recently when the investigation had been open since July?" Stefanik continued.
"Because of the sensitivity of the matter," Comey responded.