On Thursday, Sen. John McCain questioned former FBI director James Comey during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing and somehow tried to connect the Trump-Russia connection to Hillary Clinton's emails. After everyone expressed confusion, McCain responded that he stayed up late watching the Arizona Diamondbacks game. He has since clarified what he was trying to ask.
After over two hours of questioning, the senator stepped in, despite not being on the Senate Intelligence Committee (he gets ex officio status as the chairman of the Armed Services Committee). CNN reported that he spent more time than any other senator, except for Chairman Richard Burr, to ask a question that, ultimately, made little sense.
He began by bringing in Hillary Clinton and even swapped in Comey for Trump's name:
You made the statement that there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her, although it had been very careless in their behavior, but you did reach a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her, yet at the same time in the case of Mr. Comey (sic) you said that there was not enough information to make a conclusion.
If this doesn't make sense to you, don't worry; it didn't make sense to Comey, either, who informed the senator that the Clinton investigations were no longer open. When McCain tried to bring this up again, Comey repeated that the Clinton investigations had been finished as of July, but that the Russian investigations were ongoing when he "left" the FBI.
Still, McCain tried to draw parallels between the two, saying something about "the role that Russia played" and that "[Clinton] was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news ... is a big deal took place." His reasoning was that the "American people have a whole lot of questions out there" regarding this. Whatever "this" is.
At this, Comey finally admitted whatever everyone else was thinking: "With respect to — I'm a little confused."
It seems like McCain was trying to draw a parallel between the way Comey handled the Clinton and Russian investigations. Why he was trying to do so is unclear, however. His ending statements seemed to imply something about the quality of the conclusions reached by the FBI that perhaps is linked to some sort of blackmail:
But you reached that conclusion as far as Secretary Clinton was concerned, but you're not reaching a conclusion as far as this administration is concerned. Are you aware of anything that would lead you to believe that information exists that could coerce members of the administration or blackmail the administration?
However, even in reading the statement with that understanding — one that may be inaccurate — the senator's questions still make no sense. It's no wonder Twitter had a field day trying to understand what he meant.
McCain later tweeted that his questioning "went over people's heads" and excused it by saying he'd stayed up late watching the Arizona Diamondbacks playing. He reiterated his question, which still seems somewhat irrelevant. The point, said McCain, was whether "Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice." This certainly did not come across in his initial questions, as he focused on Clinton's emails. Unfortunately, the rest of his statement does not make the connection between the Clinton investigation and those interactions any clearer.