Former FBI chief Comey arrives for GOP interview
- Author: Joey Payne Dec 08, 2018,
Dec 08, 2018, 0:48
Former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before House legislators turned out to be a "waste of time", according to lawmakers.
But on Friday, Comey is not bound by a confidentiality agreement.
Such hearings may not continue after the new year: with Democrats taking back control of the House, would-be incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said Friday he will end the GOP inquiry into DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation actions during the 2016 election, calling it a waste of time.
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the "phony" Russian investigation is a "witch hunt" and a presidential harassment without which his approval ratings would have been 75 per cent. They said questions from the judiciary committee Republicans were merely distractions from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
Trump said that the latest Rasmussen reports showed his approval rating at 50 per cent.
"The entire goal of this investigation is to be a diversion of the real investigation, which is Mueller".
Under a deal struck with the House Judiciary Committee, Comey will be free to speak about the questioning afterward and a transcript will be released. "But I will resist a "closed door" thing because I've seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion".
He also complained that Comey's lawyers were preventing the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief from answering some questions from lawmakers.
Comey's testimony will likely be one of the last sessions conducted by the judiciary and oversight panels this year.
House Republicans are questioning Comey on decisions made by the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election.
As he walked down one of the Capitol corridors, he was asked about Trump's morning Twitter claim that he is "best friends" with special counsel Robert Mueller - part of Trump's attack that Mueller is 'highly conflicted'.
Gowdy and House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte threw cold water on that proposal, arguing that previous public hearings with witnesses, like one with former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok this past summer, were a political farce as members from both parties used the high-profile nature of the interview to grandstand.
The Republican chairman of the House's judiciary committee, Virginia Rep.
Gowdy told Fox News Thursday that the request to interview Comey is not political, but rather a natural extension of Congress' oversight responsibility over the justice system's extraordinary powers.
Former FBI director James Comey makes remarks following closed-door hearing with lawmakers.
"Don't do it in a dark corner and don't do it in a way where all you do is leak information", said Comey's attorney, David Kelley.
Both Goodlatte and Issa are retiring at the end of this session, with Issa having been nominated in September for a post in Trump's Trade and Development Agency.
A transcript will be released "as soon as possible after the interview, in the name of our combined desire for transparency", Goodlatte said.
Comey's last appearance before lawmakers was 18 months ago, at a public hearing in June 2017. But it also found there was no evidence that Comey's or the department's final conclusions were motivated by political bias toward either candidate.