In the Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian hacking today, FBI Director James Comey made an astonishing and absolute statement to Senator Ron Wyden.
Senator Wyden specifically asked Director Comey about reports that there was contact between people associated with the Trump campaign and the Russians.
"My question for you, Director Comey, is has the FBI investigated these reported relationships? And if so, what are the agency findings?"
Obviously the answer to the second question was not going to be answered in public. But it is also true that you don't ask questions you don't already know the answer to, which is why the first question was so pointed and simple. Has the FBI investigated these reports?
Comey's answer was stunning.
"I would never comment on an investigation when you have one or not in an open forum like this," Comey replied. "I really can't answer one way or another."
Wyden continued to press him on the question. "Can you provide an unclassified response to these questions and release it to the American people prior to January 20th?"
Comey asked Wyden to repeat the question, which is almost always a stall in these hearings, before answering.
"I will answer any question you ask but the answer will likely be the same as I just gave you. I can't talk about it," he insisted.
Except he had absolutely no problem talking about other investigations he conducted, specifically with regard to Secretary Hillary Clinton, didn't he?
Wyden was visibly angry and let him know that.
"I think the American people have a right to know this, and if there is a delay in declassifying disinformation and relating it to the American people, releasing it to the American people, that doesn't happen before January 20," he scolded. "I'm not sure it's going to happen. That's why I am troubled, and I hope that you will make a declassified statement with respect to the questions I've asked."
I won't hold my breath. I just find it ironic that Comey has suddenly found a spine when it comes to commenting on interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russia, while feeling perfectly free to go far beyond those boundaries when it concerned Hillary Clinton.