Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz confronted FBI Director James Comey Friday in a contentious closed-door exchange during a classified briefing, a lawmaker in the room told CNN.
Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign her post atop the DNC over the summer following a steady release of hacked DNC emails, challenged Comey during a classified briefing for House lawmakers about the intelligence assessment that Russians meddled in the US election.
Her questions, which were described by the lawmaker to CNN as “confrontational,” focused on why the FBI didn’t reach out directly to her, or any of the committee’s senior leadership, when it became aware of the hacks.
Wasserman Schultz repeatedly accused Comey of failing to take the proper steps to inform her team of what happened and failing to underscore the importance of the event in the limited contact that did occur.
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The lawmaker told CNN that Comey pushed back in an exchange that lasted nearly 10 minutes and defended the FBI’s response. It was clear to Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chided Comey at various points of the closed-door briefing for his role in investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails, that Comey never reached out to Wasserman Schultz, the lawmaker said.
Wasserman Schultz later said in a statement to CNN that she wouldn’t compromise any information said in the meeting but that Comey should clarify the agency’s policies when investigating the hacking by foreign governments.
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James Comey: Russia tried to hack RNC 01:07
“There are further questions that must be answered by Director Comey, who must provide more clarity on this and other questions that have arisen surrounding the FBI’s handling of Russian hacking during the 2016 election cycle,” she said in the statement.
A message left with the FBI seeking comment Friday night was not immediately returned.
Wasserman Schultz wasn’t the only one disappointed with Comey.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minnesota, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” that his confidence in Comey was shaken after the briefing. He said his “frustration started to brew” after he said Comey declined to answer “very simple questions” about whether he followed FBI protocol.
“It shook me,” Walz said. “The American public has to believe they’re doing everything in the best interest to protect the American people in a nonpartisan manner. I did not leave feeling that’s what happened in this case. I think more questions need to be answered.”
Walz continued: “This goes at the heart of our democracy, and when the director of the FBI can’t answer those questions, it does shake our confidence.”
Asked if Comey should resign, however, Walz said he hasn’t “gone that far,” saying such a decision was “premature.”