Local Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff told Bill Maher that recently fired FBI Director James Comey would still have a job if there was nothing to the FBI’s investigation into President Trump’s alleged relationship with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election.
Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence, which is currently investigating possible connections between the Russians and Trump and members of his campaign, appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Sunday night to discuss Comey’s dismissal.
“On Fox News, the talking point is always, ‘Let’s just wrap this up because after all this time there’s no there there,’” Maher said. “What do you say to the no there there people? Is there a there there?”
“If there was no there there, then James Comey would still have a job,” Schiff said to a round of applause.
Trump fired Comey last Tuesday and claimed in a letter to Comey that the director was being let go because of his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails after it was discovered she had stored emails on a private server.
After the initial announcement, Trump surrogates backtracked several times on the reason for Comey’s firing.
At the time of his dismissal, Comey was leading a federal probe into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian spies who allegedly hacked into the Democratic National Convention and Clinton’s email account.
“As important as the collusion is,” Schiff said, “there is a lot at stake here even beyond that. What people need to recognize is the Russians intervened not just because they wanted to help Donald Trump and not just because they hated Hillary Clinton. They intervened because they wanted to take down our democracy.”
Comey announced during an open hearing before that body that members of the Trump campaign were under investigation. He would not rule out the president as part of that investigation.
Comey’s firing sparked comparisons of Trump to former President Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre in 1973 in which Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon’s downfall came about in part after investigators learned that there were audio tapes of conversations in the White House.
One day after firing Comey, Trump intimated that he may have taped a conversation with Comey.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” Trump tweeted in an early morning tirade the day after he fired Comey.
Last Friday, Schiff, who has called for the appointment of a special counsel, called for the release of those tapes.
“If the president has tapes of his conversations with Director Comey, it is because the president himself made them,” said Schiff in a prepared statement. “For a president who baselessly accused his predecessor of illegally wiretapping him, that Mr. Trump would suggest that he, himself, may have engaged in such conduct is staggering.”