Comey at Congressional Hearing: Debt can make officials ‘vulnerable to coercion by an adversary’

Former FBI Director Jim Comey told a virtual Senate Judiciary Committee, “A person’s financial situation could make them vulnerable to coercion by an adversary and allow an adversary to do what we try to do to foreign government officials we find are indebted, which is to try to recruit them to our side.” 

Comey was referencing the New York Times report about Trump’s tax returns that show a debt of $400 million, which is due in a few years.

“I don’t know whether the Russians have something over President Trump, but it is difficult to explain his conduct, his statements in any other way, especially as a refusal to criticize [Russian President] Vladimir Putin. So it raises significant questions and obviously the question is only deepened by disclosure, if it is true, of significant indebtedness,” Comey said.

See the Hill

Comey was appearing today in a largely political congressional theater rehashing the Russia investigation and Comey’s direction with new information, unverified, by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. The republicans are trying to spin this new information as proof of biased treatment by the FBI under Comey to investigating Russian ties to Trump but not to Hillary Clinton.

Critics, meanwhile, have howled at what they called the cynicism associated with a political spymaster, in Ratcliffe, using his access to secret and unconfirmed material to supply it to Graham for the purposes of what Democrats called a political hearing on Wednesday.