Dianne Feinstein: ‘Comey is in no way a nut job’

Michael Walsh
Reporter
Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took issue with President Trump’s loquaciousness and encouraged him to think about his choice of words more carefully before speaking.

During an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning, Feinstein said it was altogether inappropriate for Trump to describe former FBI Director James Comey as a “nut job” while meeting with Russian officials.

“This is a horrible thing for a president to say. Former Director Comey is in no way a nut job. He’s a very strong man. He’s a very principled man,” Feinstein said. “I happen to believe he made a couple of mistakes. I suspect he thinks he’s made a couple of mistakes. Whether that deserved his termination or not is not up to me.”

On Friday, the New York Times reported that Trump told Russian diplomats, according to a document summarizing the meeting, that firing Comey earlier this month relieved “great pressure” — calling him “crazy, a real nut job.”

Feinstein, the top Democrat on the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, said she hopes the records of this meeting will be made available. The White House has not disputed the comments.

According to Feinstein, the reason behind Comey’s termination has not really “been ferreted out.” She said the American people should be presented with a “clear and distinct” rationale behind that decision.

“Face the Nation” host John Dickerson asked Feinstein whether she gets the impression that the federal investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign now extends to whether there has been a cover-up.

“Well, I think that’s right. It does. I know what the president told me when he called to say that he was firing him. And that turned out not to be the reason,” she said.

The administration initially blamed Comey’s public comments about Hillary Clinton’s email server, with Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying Democrats would be “dancing in the streets” if Clinton had fired him. Trump undermined that stance by saying he fired Comey because the director was a “showboat.” And then Trump’s comments to the Moscow diplomats connected the dismissal to the Russia probe.

Feinstein lamented that she feels Congress cannot rely upon the commander in chief to tell the truth. She also offered a bit of advice, which she described as well meaning, to Trump.

“Stop the tweeting. Think about what you say because you’re reflecting in a big pool. And the Senate and the House have to feel a sense of stability from day to day,” she said. “We can’t feel the anxiety that goes with not knowing what may happen next, what may be said next. And we need to depend on our president for truth. That is really important.”

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