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Comey: ‘Reasonable,’ ‘Totally Normal’ to Plant Undercover Sources in a Political Campaign

‘I knew they were trying to see if they could check it out’

EXCERPT:

COOPER: “You said it’s not spying. Why do you think Attorney General Barr used the word spying which is obviously the word the president has used as well?”

COMEY: “I can’t explain it. The only explanation I can think of is he used it because the president uses it, which is really disappointing. He knows better than that, and knows that the FBI conducts electronic surveillance by going to Federal judges and getting warrants based on probable cause.”

COOPER: “But sending an investigator under cover to meet with meet with somebody who is connected to the campaign, they claimed he was later on just a coffee boy. That is an extreme step, no?”

COMEY: “No, it’s a reasonable — that was the guy, Papadopoulos, who was the subject of the information we got from the Australians that he had talked to the Russians.”

COOPER: “Did you sign off on the investigator going?”

COMEY: “I don’t remember talking about that particular step with my team. I knew they were trying to see if they could check it out. That’s a totally normal step. See if you can get somebody close to the person and see if they’ll confirm what we heard from the Australians.”

COOPER: “How involved were you overall overseeing the investigation? Again, this is an investigation where at this point from the Papadopoulos — Donald Trump had already been named the candidate for the Republican Party.”

COMEY: “Yeah, I was involved the way the director should be involved, briefed on a regular basis, but the director never runs an investigation but they kept me closely informed because I told them this is important. I want it kept very close hold, but do what you need to do under our authorities to figure out.”

COOPER: “So you’re saying you’re not sure if you knew they were sending somebody under cover to talk to Papadopoulos.”

COMEY: “I don’t want to confirm. I want to leave to the FBI to confirm what investigative steps they took. That news article wasn’t, I don’t think based on an official release. So I don’t want to comment on particular steps. But in general. They would tell me we’re following through to try and understand whether there is evidence to establish this.”

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