James Comey appears before House Judiciary Committee in closed session

Seventy-five percent would make Trump easily one of the most popular leaders on the planet
Seventy-five percent would make Trump easily one of the most popular leaders on the planet
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08 December, 2018

Former FBI director James Comey, sacked by President Donald Trump in 2017, testified Friday (Dec 7) before U.S. lawmakers for the first time in over a year, but this time out of the camera glare.

Comey had refused to testify in private, but reached a deal with House Republicans to release a transcript of the interview within 24-hours.

Trump has repeatedly called the Russian Federation probe a "witch hunt" and has accused Comey and his close colleagues of being corrupt. They said questions from the judiciary committee Republicans were merely distractions from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

In May 2017 Trump abruptly sacked Comey, who was the senior official leading a criminal investigation into possible collusion with Moscow.

"It's a waste of time to start with and there's nothing", said Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

"The entire goal of this investigation is to cast aspersion on the real investigation, which is Mueller", Nadler told reporters outside Comey's testimony.

"It is being reported that Leakin' James Comey was told by Department of Justice attorneys not to answer the most important questions", Trump said.

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He also complained that Comey's lawyers were preventing the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief from answering some questions from lawmakers.

Over the a year ago, Republicans on the Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform panels have brought in a series of officials and said after the closed-door meetings that there is evidence of bias.

"Robert Mueller and Leakin' Lyin' James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest", Trump tweeted.

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. Two other Republicans, Reps. Strzok defiantly fought with angry Republican lawmakers in a riveting hearing that featured Strzok reading aloud from his sometimes-lewd texts, and Democrats and Republicans openly yelling at each other.

"I'm not sure we needed to do this at all", Comey said after exiting his interview with the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees.

Comey buckled over the weekend, announcing he would appear following assurances that a full transcript would get released and he could speak about what he had testified. Both Goodlatte and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the oversight panel, are also retiring at the end of the year. Yet it did not second-guess his conclusion that Clinton should not have been prosecuted, despite assertions by Trump and his supporters that anyone less politically connected would have been charged.

In addition to Comey's ouster four years into a 10-year term, Trump helped orchestrate the removal from the bureau of Andrew McCabe, who was interim director when Comey was sacked.


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