Comey blasts GOP: ‘They’re talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails again’
Former FBI Director James Comey on Friday blasted the House Republicans who called him to testify for nearly seven hours behind closed doors, saying they were rehashing old ground he saw no reason to cover.
“They’re talking again about Hillary Clinton’s emails again, for heaven’s sake,” Mr. Comey told reporters after the testimony.
He also said Republicans are calling him back in a couple weeks to testify again on Dec. 17.
GOP lawmakers, about to lose the power of the gavel when they slip into the minority next year, had wanted one last crack at Mr. Comey, who they saw as the center of botched decisions at the FBI not to investigate Mrs. Clinton and instead to focus on President Trump.
Friday’s hearing happened behind closed doors, but Mr. Comey insisted a transcript be released within 24 hours as one of his conditions for testifying. He said that was intended to prevent Republicans from misconstruing what he said.
Still, there was some disagreement over what went on in the room.
One Republican emerged to say that Mr. Comey was refusing to answer some key questions about the start of the Russian probe and the FISA warrant on Carter Page, on the advice of the FBI lawyer who was in the room with him.
Mr. Trump seized on that.
“It is being reported that Leakin’ James Comey was told by Department of Justice attorneys not to answer the most important questions. Total bias and corruption at the highest levels of previous administration,” the president said on Twitter. “Force him to answer the questions under oath!”
Mr. Comey, though, told reporters the transcript will refute that.
“The FBI for understandable reasons doesn’t want me talking about the details of the investigation that is still on going,” Mr. Comey said. It began when I was FBI director so it makes sense they don’t want me going into those details, but that is a very teeny part of what we talked about today.”
Democrats also pushed back that Mr. Comey wasn’t answering GOP inquiries.
“The lawyers I think they let there be a freewheeling exchange and they didn’t really get in the middle of it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois Democrat.
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, California Democrat, said a lot of questions lobby by Republicans focused on the bias of former FBI agents who worked on the Russian investigation, referencing Peter Stzrok and Lisa Page, who exchanged thousands of texts showing disdain for then candidate Donald Trump.
“He said that there always has to be a question of an appearance of bias that is something he kind of stressed,” Mr. Gomez said.
“He’s been pretty forthcoming unless the FBI itself stepped in and said he couldn’t answer,” he added.