By saying he wanted to keep the investigation “tight within the executive branch,” Comey actually meant tight within the FBI — never mind that the White House is the head of the executive branch. Thus, Comey kept the fact of the investigation secret from the congressional overseers who certainly had a right to know what was going on.
Comey’s secrecy may have had wide-ranging repercussions. Even though there were leaks from inside the investigation, the fact that the FBI, for so many months, would not acknowledge the existence of the probe led to widespread public doubt — and wild debate — about what was happening.
Even people who should have known what was going on — say, the chairman of the House or Senate intelligence committee — couldn’t say. And, if Comey kept the Director of National Intelligence in the dark as well, then his public statements were to some degree uninformed, as well. Just a few weeks ago, former DNI James Clapper made news when he said that, as of his departure from office on January 20, he knew of no evidence of Trumpworld collusion with the Russians.
Many lawmakers and journalists cited Clapper’s statement to support the argument that there’s no there there in the Trumpworld collusion allegation. But for all the public knows, James Comey kept Clapper in the dark, too.