Not much can get between senators and a recess. Except, perhaps, FBI Director James B. Comey.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with ex-officio member and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, huddled for a total of more than two hours on Friday with Comey.
The FBI director’s visit was not announced publicly, and it’s possible members of the Capitol Hill press corps only found out because he was spotted in the hallways and entered a secure room used for intelligence briefings.
But leaving that secure room in the Capitol Visitor Center, senators declined to even confirm the presence of the FBI director, much less the substance of the meeting. Those who did talk generally only gave “no comments” or referred questions to Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr and ranking member Mark Warner.
Both Burr and Warner proved just as loquacious.
“I think we made our non-statement statement,” Warner told reporters after repeated questions about the briefing.
“I won’t talk about it at all,” said Burr.
Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, who passed through the area where reporters were gathered in the basement as the briefing was going on, appeared surprised to hear Comey was even in the building.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections, and Burr and Warner were more talkative earlier in the week. The two senators told reporters Tuesday that their Senate colleagues should trust their efforts.
“Mark and I set the committee on a path some time ago, and we explained the full scope of the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections. That also included any contacts that any campaign officials might have had with Russian government officials,” Burr said after the reports of contacts between erstwhile national security adviser Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, about U.S. sanctions against the country.
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.