Comey: It’s ‘Totally Normal’ to Spy on Political Campaigns, Just Don’t Call It Spying

Former FBI Director James Comey told a CNN crowd that the FBI spying on political campaigns is “totally normal.”

The former director nearly twisted himself into a pretzel when he took a question from Marymount University student Sabren Wahdan, a member of the CNN town hall audience, on whether the FBI planting individuals to interact with the Trump campaign constitutes “spying.”

“Yeah, I’m not going to comment on a particular investigative step, because that’s for the bureau to do, and I’m not in the government any longer, but the FBI doesn’t spy to begin with. The FBI investigates. And you got to remember where we were in the end of July 2016,” Comey answered via the Daily Caller. “We knew the Russians were engaged in a massive effort to attack our democracy, and then we learn from an allied ambassador that one of President Trump-elect — candidate Trump’s advisers had been talking to a Russian representative long before that about dirt they had on Hillary Clinton that the Russians wanted to make available.”

Comey again clarified, “the FBI doesn’t spy.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper chimed in, “You said it’s not spying. Why do you think Attorney General Barr used the word ‘spying’ which is obviously the word the president has used as well?”

“The only explanation I can think of is he used it because the president used it, which is really disappointing,” Comey responded per the Daily Caller. “He knows better than that, and knows that the FBI conducts electronic surveillance by going to federal judges and getting warrants based on probable cause.”

So, according to Comey’s own comments, the FBI wasn’t spying but “investigates” using planted personnel and “conducts electronic surveillance” to get information.

This sounds right out of a James Bond or Mission: Impossible film but later in the interview the former FBI director calls it “reasonable” and “totally normal.”

Cooper asked: “But sending an investigator undercover to meet with somebody who is connected to the campaign, they claimed he was later on just a coffee boy. That is an extreme step, no?”

“No, it’s reasonable — that was the guy, Papadopoulos, who was the subject of the information we got from the Australians that he had talked to the Russians,” Comey concluded via the report. “I don’t remember talking about that particular step with my team. I knew they were trying to see if they could check it out. That’s a totally normal step. See if you can get somebody close to the person and see if they’ll confirm what we heard from the Australians.”