PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said his line of questioning that raised eyebrows both in Thursday’s Senate hearing and online was meant to ascertain if President Donald Trump had obstructed justice.
“What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. (former FBI Director James) Comey believes that any of his interactions with the president rise to the level of obstruction of justice,” he said in a statement.
McCain’s nearly nine-minute questioning of Comey left some senators confused, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
“I didn’t follow that line of questioning very well,” he told reporters after the public hearing concluded.
In his statement, McCain said he was pushing Comey to “step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence,” as he did with the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump — whether or not the president’s conduct constitutes obstruction of justice,” he said.
However, McCain said he realizes his point did not come across during his line of questioning.
“I missed an opportunity in today’s hearing,” he said. “I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record.”
While McCain said his questions went over many people’s heads, he did poke a little fun at himself.
“Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games,” he said.
The D-backs responded shortly after on Twitter.
The game ended about 10:30 p.m. Arizona time, which is 1:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C.