On Monday, FBI Director James Comey delivered hours of testimony at a House hearing exploring possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Comey, of course, is notorious in Democratic circles for his series of public statements during the campaign, including one week before Election Day, about the Bureau’s probes into Hillary Clinton’s email server—statements that some Democrats have argued helped swing public opinion in favor of her opponent, Donald Trump.
During the hearing, Comey confirmed both that the FBI has launched an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible Trump administration ties to the Kremlin, and shot down President Trump’s claim (via a Fox News contributor and 9/11 truther) that former President Obama had ordered British intelligence to wiretap him.
“The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election—and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” Comey told Congress.
So that evening, Late Night host Seth Meyers dedicated his latest “Closer Look” segment—an 11-minute whopper—to the Comey hearing, which monopolized Monday’s news coverage.
“That is a huge, huge deal, and yet, only 60 days into this administration, you hear that and you’re like, meh,” Meyers joked of Comey’s Russia-Trump investigation reveal. “At this point, Melania would have to take Trump on a high-speed chase in a Ford Bronco for us to say, ‘This is unexpected! This is a twist I didn’t see coming!’”
Meyers then threw to a series of clips of Comey testifying before Congress that “our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. We just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we’re doing it…some folks may want to make comparisons to past instances where the Department of Justice and the FBI have spoken about the details of some investigations.” “Yeah, I know at least one person who might,” said Meyers, before flashing a photo of Hillary Clinton on the screen. “I’m not saying Comey cost Clinton the election, but his name is definitely on the list that Hillary mutters like Arya Stark when she’s walking in the woods: James Comey, WikiLeaks, The Hound, Anthony Weiner!”
In addition to Comey’s apparent hypocrisy, the late-night comedian also focused some of his ire on the Republicans on the committee who “were eager to focus on literally anything else” besides the Trump-Russia links, including committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, who listed off a series of swing states and asked NSA Director Mike Rogers if Russia had tampered with votes in those states. This was, according to Meyers, “an allegation no serious person has made, or is concerned about at all,” and appeared to be a thinly-veiled attempt to distract or cloud the impact of the hearing. “Even crazier,” noted Meyers, “while the hearing was still happening, Trump tweeted—Trump tweeted from the president’s official account!—‘The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.’”
Of course, that is not true. So in perhaps the most surreal moment of the hearing, Comey was later on asked by a congressman to fact-check Trump’s erroneous tweet about the hearing.
“I haven’t been following anybody on Twitter while I’ve been sitting here,” said Comey. “We’ve offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it’s never something that we looked at.” “Witnesses in a hearing are fact-checking the president’s tweets about that hearing during a hearing. They might as well just throw to Ernie, Kenny, and Charles,” joked Meyers, referring to TNT’s Inside the NBA troika.
He added: “All of this, of course, raises the question once again of where the president gets his information, because we are now at the point where the crazy things the president says are making their way into the halls of Congress, and wasting the time of allies, intelligence officials, and the FBI director.”