Testimony and questions about Hillary Clinton during former FBI Director James Comey's appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee were "irrelevant," as the 2016 race is over and the discussion should focus on the Russia investigation, Sen. Tim Kaine said Friday.
"This is about a sitting president and why he fired the FBI director in a historic move, and was that connected to the Russians," the Virginia Democrat and former vice presidential candidate told CNN "New Day" anchor Alisyn Camerota. "Look, 2016 is in the rearview mirror now."
At one point in the testimony, Comey testified that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had asked him to call the probe of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's email server as a "matter," not an "investigation."
He said the direction confused and concerned him, and was "one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we are to close the case credibly.
"That's ridiculous," Kaine said. "Where is the action? President [Donald] Trump fired the director of the FBI, the guy leading the Russia investigation. You know, I thought that was an interesting piece of testimony . . . yesterday's testimony laid out disturbing pieces of evidence about what that intent was."
Kaine said that as for himself, he used the word investigation "all the time," and that he knows Republicans are trying to find things in Comey's testimony to seize on and distract the public.
"This is like see no evil, hear no evil," Kaine said. "They are trying to close their eyes to the investigation."
Comey also testified that when former President Bill Clinton visited with Lynch on her plane, it shifted something in that investigation.
"That was the thing that capped it for me," Comey said. "I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation for the FBI and Justice Department."
"I thought that was irrelevant in the hearing yesterday," Kaine said. "2016 is over . . . now what we are talking about is the sitting president of the United States and whether the administration took an action to fire the FBI director in a historic way because of a desire to take the pressure off the Russia investigation."
In addition, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, brought up the Clinton investigation in an attempt to link the probe with the examination of Russia's role in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion with Trump's campaign staff.
There has also been some complaints that Comey did not tell Trump he was being inappropriate by saying he'd like it if the FBI director would let the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn go. However, Kaine said that Comey did take action.
"He was very troubled and probably shocked by some of the actions of the president," Kaine said. "When you are in the middle of the meeting with someone and they do something you find shocking, sometimes you don't immediately react. What he did is went to the head justice official in the nation, the attorney general and said it is not appropriate to have a meeting and have the president pull the FBI director in privately."
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