Marco Rubio's Face During Comey's Hearing Is How American Politics Feels
Thursday morning was replete with dramatic moments from former FBI director James Comey’s congressional hearing, but if you were watching Sen. Marco Rubio during the open session, you might not have thought so. As his Republican colleague John McCain grilled Comey, a photo of Rubio's face slipping into a sullen, bored expression made the hours-long ordeal worth sticking around for.
Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday was a highly anticipated event. (Several bars in Washington, D.C. even opened early for a "Comey viewing party," so to speak, complete with a Comey-themed menu.) There were several eyebrow-raising comments from the former FBI head that may shake Trump's already-volatile presidency.
BuzzFeed News' Capitol Hill reporter Emma Loop, who was at Congress covering the hearing, shared the photo of Rubio on Twitter. She also posted images of Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden, and James Risch in various modes of expression during McCain's questioning. But Rubio, pictured covering the side of his weary-looking face with his hand, his fingers resting under his nose, seemed most unamused. It remains unclear as to who are what exactly the Florida lawmaker is glaring at, or if he simply wanted to get the hearing over with.
To make sense of Rubio's morose disposition, it's worth checking out what McCain had been saying at the time. McCain's questions actually garnered a lot of media's attention, perhaps in part because what McCain was saying to Comey made little sense. The Arizona senator tried to show that, in his opinion, Comey was apparently preferential toward Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race.
He told Comey:
You made the statement that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to bring a suit against [Hillary Clinton], although it had been very careless in their behavior [sic], but you did reach a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her. ... Tell me the difference between your conclusion as far as former secretary Clinton is concerned and Mr. Trump.
Comey, appearing confused, responded that the investigation involving Clinton was a "completed investigation." But McCain continued to grill Comey without realizing that Clinton's case and Trump's case were not within the same FBI investigation. It's a truly bizarre back-and-forth between the senator and the former FBI director.
It's precisely during this weird episode of non sequitur from McCain that Rubio looks completely and entirely out of it. While some senators turned to each other in what seemed to be confusion and others appear to be staring down at their notes, Rubio's looked like he simply wanted to know one thing: When will this hell end?