James Comey testifies in closed-door session with House judiciary committee

Howard TerryDec 08, 2018

Comey is speaking with lawmakers behind closed doors Friday after reaching a compromise with House Republicans who subpoenaed him to testify about his recommendation in July 2016 not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server to conduct official government business.

Comey, who was subpoenaed, spoke to the GOP-led House judiciary and oversight and government reform committees for almost seven hours behind closed doors, later telling reporters that they were "talking again about Hillary Clinton's emails, for heaven's sakes".

Comey also explained that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had asked him not to discuss certain aspects of the Russian Federation probe, since it's still ongoing, but that it was not a large part of the interview on Friday.

Appearing annoyed, he said "we're talking about Hillary Clinton's emails, for heaven's sake, so I'm not sure we needed to do this at all".

"When you only are speaking to your subordinates, it's a different thing than elevating something you think would be ripe enough for a critical decision", he said. Democrats and Comey rebuked that claim, instead saying there were only a handful of questions that he could not answer because of ongoing criminal investigations.

Issa noted that his two attorneys have been instructing him not to answer the vast bulk of the questions.

Goodlatte said the transcript will be released to the public as soon as possible after the interview December 2.

Just as the meeting ended, President Trump tweeted that "it is being reported that Leakin' James Comey was told by Department of Justice attorneys not to answer the most important questions".

"I'm still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions".

Meanwhile, the president launched a broadside Friday at Mueller's investigators ahead of major filings in the Russian Federation probe, alleging a slew of internal "conflicts of interest" and suggesting all those controversies should be included in the final report.

But on Friday, Comey is not bound by a confidentiality agreement.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has been trying to get Comey back to ask new questions, given how much information has come to light since then, including some contradictions to his earlier comments, such as how many emails they were able to review.

New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, said as he walked into the Comey interview that he will end the investigation when Democrats take the House majority in January.

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.

After the questioning was underway, some Republicans signaled they were unhappy with Comey's level of cooperation.

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