Home National Politics Rep. Gerry Connolly Calls Out House Republicans for “Political Theater”

Rep. Gerry Connolly Calls Out House Republicans for “Political Theater”


Rep. Connolly to FBI Director (and long-time Republican) James Comey:

Today’s hearing is political theater. There’s not even a pretense of trying to get at the truth. This is a desperate attempt under an extraordinary set of circumstances – an ’emergency’ hearing. I don’t know what the emergency is other than one side is about to nominate somebody who is a pathological narcissist who is talking about banning Muslims and Mexicans crossing the border are all rapists and women who are pigs and terrified at the prospects of the consequences of that in the election. So let’s grab on to whatever we can to discredit or try to discredit the other nominee…and you took away their only hope. And so the theater today is actually trying to discredit you…the insinuation being, you didn’t do your job.

Connolly proceeds to get Comey to state that Hillary Clinton neither lied nor was evasive, and that there was no evidence that Clinton did anything “willful” to, as Connolly put it, “compromise classified material.” As usual, Republicans are wildly overreaching in this case, and as usual, it will likely backfire on them.

  • Statement by Rep.Connolly:

    Gone are the days of bipartisan investigation into the genuine problems in our government and responsible oversight of the core functions of the country. The Oversight Committee, sadly, has become a partisan peddler of misinformation and false narratives, and, unfortunately, a clear pattern has been established.

    This pattern can be traced back to the witch hunt launched against Lois Lerner. When the facts disproved the narrative of a conspiracy to target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt nonprofit status, this Committee sought to strip her of her 5th Amendment rights. Unsatisfied with this extra-constitutional action, the Committee set its sights higher and led a sustained attack against IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who has now been censured without a shred of evidence of wrongdoing. The Committee has ruined the careers of two public servants in a desperate attempt to breathe life into the failed narrative of conspiracy within the IRS.

    Sadly, this morally bankrupt agenda is consistent with the politicization of the tragic events in Benghazi, an attack in which four Americans lost their lives. The independent Accountability Review Board and the Republican-led House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees reached a consensus that no stand down order was issued and that there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Secretary Clinton. Once again, when facts would not support a previously drawn conclusion, the Majority doubled down, and a select committee was launched that spent more than two years and $7 million of taxpayer dollars on a snipe hunt that reached the same conclusion as the previous investigations – that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Secretary Clinton. It has become all too common that the Oversight Committee acts as a conspiracy driven outlier at odds with objective platforms of Congress.

    Where was this outrage at the FBI’s findings during the investigation of General David Petraeus? In fact, my colleagues expressed concerns at the validity of the investigation, despite its factual uncovering. Chairman Chaffetz stated, “If he has done something wrong, charge him, if he has not, let him go.” I guess double standards are in vogue on the Oversight Committee

    This Committee is in the habit of discrediting any individual who becomes a subject of its ire but is later found not to have committed the transgressions that would neatly fit the narrative. This Committee assaulted the integrity of former Attorney General Eric Holder after the Fast and Furious investigation could not support the attempt to pillory his administration of the Justice Department. In the wake of the OPM breach, rather than look for solutions, this Committee sought the immediate resignation of OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.

    Now, we have called an emergency hearing, with less than 24 hours of notice, to question the FBI Director Comey’s decision to not charge Secretary Clinton with any wrongdoing amid allegations of mishandling classified information through the use of a personal email account. Of course, we will side step the inconvenient fact that Republican Secretaries of State engaged in the same practice. This is the same FBI Director that was praised by the Chairman of this Committee, the Speaker of the House, and many more of our colleagues for his handling of the investigation before yesterday’s announcement.

    It is astounding that just days after demanding that Attorney General Loretta Lynch recuse herself because of an innocuous meeting with former President Clinton and then applauding her decision to rely on the career prosecutors at the FBI, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would now haul the FBI Director before this Committee to question the integrity of his investigation. In a completely transparent act of political theater, we are now questioning his conclusions because they do not further the Majority’s narrative against Secretary Clinton. The FBI Director’s credibility is unimpeachable. Director Comey has a reputation as an impartial investigator and prosecutor who once served as counsel to the Republican Senate Whitewater Committee in the mid-1990s and then as a Bush appointee at the Justice Department.

    During his tenure in the Bush Administration, Mr. Comey earned his reputation of speaking truth to power by resisting importuning to approve illegal wiretaps advocated by White House Officials. I know that, pressure to conform to a false narrative notwithstanding, Mr. Comey will tell truth to power before this Oversight Committee today.

  • From the Clinton campaign:

    Hillary for America Statement on FBI Director Comey’s Testimony Before House Committee

    Hillary for America National Press Secretary Brian Fallon released the following statement Thursday following FBI Director James Comey’s appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

    “Despite the partisan motivations of this hearing, we are glad it took place and that Director Comey had the opportunity to expand upon his remarks from earlier this week. Director Comey’s testimony clearly knocked down a number of false Republican talking points and reconciled apparent contradictions between his previous remarks and Hillary Clinton’s public statements. The Director’s explanations shut the door on any remaining conspiracy theories once and for all. While Republicans may try to keep this issue alive, this hearing proved those efforts will only backfire.”