FBI Director James Comey was measured and careful with his words during a high-stakes House Intelligence Committee hearing Monday, often to the dismay of probing committee members, but he was blunt on one topic.
“I hate the New England Patriots. No matter who they play, I’d like them to lose,” Comey said, trying to make a point about Russia’s motives for attempting to aid Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
Representative Chris Stewart had asked Comey during the hearing whether it was possible that the Russians were trying to undermine an expected Hillary Clinton presidency, rather than aid President Trump.
That’s when Comey launched into a Patriots metaphor, arguing that harming Clinton and helping Trump were closely related.
“I’m at the same time rooting against the Patriots and hoping their opponent beats them,” Comey said. “There’s only two teams on the field.”
He then compared his animosity for the Patriots to Russia’s feelings toward Clinton in the 2016 election.
“What the intelligence community concluded was, early on, that the hatred for Mrs. Clinton was all the way all along. When Mr. Trump became the nominee, there was some sense [by the Russians] that, ‘It would be great if he could win, it would be great if we could help him, but we need to hurt her no matter what.’ And then it shifted to, ‘He has no chance, so let’s just focus on undermining her.’”
Later in the hearing, Representative Rick Crawford brought up the Patriots again, saying Tom Brady would likely want to express gratitude for the FBI’s assistance in finding his missing jerseys.
Comey used the statement as an opportunity to further elaborate on his attitude toward the Patriots, saying “they represent sustained excellence, and as a Giants fan, that drives me crazy.”