While former FBI Director James Comey refused to offer his personal opinion on whether President Donald Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign, it seems some have taken his silence as the answer.
"Do you believe Donald Trump colluded with Russia?" asked Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas on June 8 as part of an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, reports the Independent Journal Review.
"That’s a question I don't think I should answer in an open setting," Comey responded. "As I said, when I left, we didn’t have an investigation focused on Donald Trump. But that’s a question that will be answered by the investigation I think."
Comey later emphasized he wasn't insinuating anything "nefarious," adding he simply did not want to openly talk about an ongoing investigation.
But his response left the internet running wild with speculation.
"I’d say it's the opposite of a 'no,'" wrote one Daily Kos reader.
"For me it was the unequivocal 'yes' in answer to questions about Russian hacking and interference in the election, and that said hacking definitely came from the highest levels of the Russian government apparatus," added another.
"If Comey hasn't seen any evidence of collusion, he would have simply answered 'NO,'" chimed in a reader on Conservative Daily's Facebook page.
Others interpreted Comey's answer in a completely different light.
"He used his words very carefully," wrote one Conservative Daily commenter. "His aim I thing was to just say enough to throw suspicion on the president. Therefore he couldn't be caught telling lies. He used innuendoes to make his point. Let the liberal media interpret it the way they always do, and his job would be done for him. He is a revengeful person that was humiliated by getting fired."
"Comey and Democrats want to have the appearance that Trump might have colluded with Russia," agreed a second person. "Then Comey would go behind closed doors and say no I don't think so."
"It really is that simple," said another. "He knows the answer is no, but he can't comment on an ongoing investigation. If he did, then they would come after him for not playing ball."
Many disagreed with both sides, saying people are simply looking too deeply into his comments.
"He didn't want to say anything to sway the people like he said all the answers will come when the investigation is done it's not his place to do anything or set fire to everything, which is why he said he'd do it in a closed setting," wrote one person.
"I wouldn’t get too excited by that response," added a second. "He simply does not wish to step on [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s conclusions. Full stop."