Political Insider

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Georgia 6th: Ossoff, Handel clash on Comey ahead of hearings

Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff had sharp exchanges over former FBI Director Jim Comey’s upcoming testimony in the Senate Intelligence Committee in the second 6th District debate.

As Comey prepared to address his allegations that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop an investigation into the campaign’s ties with Russia, both candidates wrestled with how to respond to the upcoming testimony.

Handel, who has campaigned with Trump, said the “responsible thing to do here is let the four investigations proceed.”

“It is imperative that we get to the facts of this situation,” she said, “and let the facts really drive where we go and what we take – and not the innuendo and those things in the press.”

Pressed by moderator Denis O’Hayer, Handel called for patience to “let the investigations get the facts.”

"Let’s let the facts go where they need to go on this. President Trump is the President, and having his support – I’m happy to have his support. But I’m also happy to have, frankly, the support of the people of the Sixth District. That is what is most important to me, because as the next congressman for the Sixth District, I understand full well that I am not an extension of the White House. I am an extension of the people of the Sixth District."

Ossoff said the specter of Russian interference in the election is an “outrage” and that it demands a “firm response and a transparent, independent investigation.”

“We need a tough and firm response to Russian meddling in the election,” said Ossoff. “I don’t think these issues need to be judged by the politics.”

Asked whether he believes there’s enough evidence to impeach Trump, the Democrat repeated what he had earlier said: “We’re still not there yet.”


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.