James Comey Shoots Down POTUS Tweet in Real Time

“Thanks to modern technology that’s in front of me, I’ve got a tweet from the president an hour ago.”

Rex Shutterstock/ZUMA

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On Monday, FBI director James Comey confirmed the existence of ongoing investigations into possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, as well as Russian efforts to meddle with the 2016 election process.

Shortly after, the Twitter account for the President of the United States (@POTUS) fired off a series of tweets, one of which appeared to distort the ongoing testimonies of both Comey and Trump’s NSA director, Admiral Mike Rogers. The @POTUS activity was unusual because Trump normally uses his personal account to post on social media:

In reality, Comey said that he had not discovered any evidence that Russia’s efforts to interfere with the presidential election affected vote tallies in key swing states. As the hearing continued into the early afternoon, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Connecticut) presented Comey with the tweet, and asked him to address its accuracy in real-time.

“Thanks to modern technology that’s in front of me, I’ve got a tweet from the president an hour ago,” Himes said before reading the tweet aloud.

“This tweet has gone out to millions of Americans, 16.1 million to be exact,” he continued. “Is the tweet as I read it to you, is that accurate?”

“It’s hard to react to them,” Comey said, visibly taken aback. “We’ve offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it’s never something we looked at.”

“It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today, because we don’t have any information on that subject,” he added.

The hearing continued to focus extensively on meetings with Trump associates and Russian officials—something the @POTUS account curiously failed to mention in its social media posts on Monday.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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