(CNSNews.com) – Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) raised questions but received no answers from FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday, when Grassley pointed to an April 22 New York Times report saying that Comey believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave Hillary Clinton “political cover” during the presidential campaign.
“The subject is classified,” Comey said in response to Grassley’s questions.
The New York Times reported that Comey’s “misgivings” about Lynch were fueled by the discovery last year of a document “written by a Democratic operative that seemed — at least in the eyes of Mr. Comey and his aides — to raise questions about her independence.”
Grassley told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, “The email reportedly provided assurances that Attorney General Lynch would protect Clinton by making sure the FBI investigation, quote, “didn’t go too far.”
Grassley asked Comey, “How and when did you learn of this document? Also, who sent it and who received it?”
“That’s not a question I can answer in this forum, Mr. Chairman, because it would call for a classified response,” Comey replied. “I have briefed leadership of the intelligence committees on that particular issue, but I can’t talk about it here.”
You can expect me to follow up on that point,” Grassley said. And he continued:
“What steps did the FBI take to determine whether Attorney General Lynch had actually given assurances that the political fix was in, no matter what? Did the FBI interview the person who wrote the email? If not, why not?”
“I have to give you the same answer -- I can’t talk about that in an unclassified setting,” Comey responded.
“OK, then you can expect me to follow up on that,” Grassley said again.
Grassley then told Comey he had asked the FBI to provide the email in question to the Judiciary Committee before the start of Wednesday’s hearing: “Why haven’t you done so, and will you provide it by the end of this week?” he asked.
“Again, to react to that, I have to give a classified answer, and I can’t give it sitting here,” Comey replied.
“So that means you can’t give me the email?” Grassley asked.
“I’m not confirming there was an email, Sir,” Comey said. “I can’t – the subject is classified, and in an appropriate forum, I’d be happy to brief you on it, but I can’t do it in an open hearing.”