During the very newsworthy Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday in which senators questioned FBI Director James Comey, a certain group of his non-answers was arguably more notable than some of the others. Those, specifically, would be the questions Comey refused to answer from Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) — questions about how Donald Trump's tax returns might fit into an investigation of potential Russian ties.
After noting that Donald Trump Jr. had previously talked about The Trump Organization's business deals in Russia and that the intelligence community's consensus was that the goal of Russian intelligence was to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election, Franken brought up a big, unanswered questions: Why did the Russians favor Trump?
The senator from Minnesota explained:
“It seems to me that in order to answer that question, any investigation into whether the campaign or Trump operation colluded with Russian operatives would require a full appreciation of the president's financial dealings. Director Comey, would President Trump's tax returns be material to such an investigation?”
“That's not something, Senator, I'm gonna answer,” Comey replied. Franken continued: “Does the investigation have access to President Trump's tax returns?” Comey replied that “I have to give you the same answer.”
The FBI director did, however, add that he hopes “people don't over-interpret” the answers to that line of questioning. He just feels he can't say anything about “what we're looking at and how.”
As you would expect, though, Comey also said he couldn't answer Franken's last question regarding the significance of the number of Russian ties to the Trump campaign and administration.