Trump tells lawmakers to ‘force’ Comey to answer their questions
Trump tells lawmakers to FORCE Comey to answer their questions ‘under oath’ after Republicans complain that a DOJ lawyer kept the former FBI director from talking
- House Republicans called back former FBI Director James Comey as one of their last acts before handing over reins of power to Democrats
- Comey filed a court motion seeking to have the hearing made public but failed
- Republicans are allowing him to release a transcript and he talked to reporters
- Asked about Trump’s latest attack on his way in, that he is ‘best friends’ with special counsel Robert Mueller, he responded: ‘Note that I smiled’
- On the way out he confirmed that he could have to come back next week
- ‘When you read the transcript, you will see that we are talking again about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, for heaven’s sakes, so I’m not sure we need to do this at all’
- It was the first time he has answered lawmakers’ questions since an explosive June 2016 hearing after Trump canned him
President Trump advised Republicans to haul James Comey before Congress a second time on Friday and compel him to answer their questions under oath.
He was responding to complaints from GOP lawmakers that a Department of Justice lawyer intervened to keep Comey from responding to many of their inquiries.
Coverage of the dramatic confrontation on Capitol Hill that had taken place in private, with a transcript to be published later, had been playing on Fox News as the president flew back to the Washington area from Kansas City on Air Force One.
Minutes after arriving at the White House, the president observed, ‘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. ‘Force him to answer the questions under oath!’
President Trump advised Republicans to haul James Comey before Congress a second time on Friday and compel him to answer their questions under oath
He was responding to complaints from GOP lawmakers that a Department of Justice lawyer intervened to keep Comey from responding to many of their inquiries
Moments before, Comey had held court on Capitol Hill with reporters anxious for a readout of the closed-door session
Moments before, Comey had held court on Capitol Hill with reporters anxious for a readout of the closed-door session.
‘After a full day of questioning, two things are clear to me. One, we could have done this in open setting. And two, when you read the transcript, you will see that we are talking again about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, for heaven’s sakes, so I’m not sure we need to do this at all.’
‘But I’m trying to respect the institution and answer questions in a respectful way. You’ll see I did that in the transcript. You’ll see that if you get a transcript of my return visit, which I think will be week after next. And then this will be over.’
He was much less gracious in a tweet later that accused legislators using him as a pawn in a plot to denigrate government agencies probing President Trump.
‘Today wasn’t a search for truth, but a desperate attempt to find anything that can be used to attack the institutions of justice investigating this president,’ he said. ‘They came up empty today but will try again. In the long run, it’ll make no difference because facts are stubborn things.’
In his conversation with reporters immediately after his appearance before lawmakers, Comey wouldn’t say how often he has met with Robert Mueller’s investigators.
He also wouldn’t comment on the firing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Asked about any abuses of surveillance laws, he responded: ‘I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed and that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful, responsible way by DOJ and the FBI. I think the notion that FISA was abused here is nonsense.
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Comey accused legislators using him as a pawn in a plot to denigrate government agencies probing President Trump in a tweet on Friday night
BEFORE AND AFTER: On the left, Comey smiles as he walks into his hearing with lawmakers; on the right he frowns after hours of questioning
As for old reports that deputy Attorney Generald Rod Rosenstein was willing to wear a wire in the days after Comey’s firing to try and trap Trump, he also declined to respond.
‘I can’t comment on that. Enjoy your weekend,’ he told Capitol Hill reporters.
Republican lawmakers were fuming on Friday after Comey’s appearance. They accused DOJ attorneys of shielding the ex-FBI chief from answering their questions.
They want him to come back yet for another interview, one that he indicated was likely to take place next week.
‘We will be demanding that he come back and be able to answer,’ said GOP Rep. Darrell Issa.
Democrats will take charge of the House in January and said Friday that they believed the hearings with Comey are a waste of time.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the presumptive chair of the Judiciary Committee, said the bipartisan session was a ‘fishing expedition,’ according to Politico, and he vowed to end when his party takes over.
Comey said would be his preference not to come back again, as well.
‘I always want to respect the institution of Congress. I would love it if they didn’t want me to testify,’ he said at the end of his first appearance. ‘If they want me to testify, and we can do it in a responsible way, I will abide it. So we’ll see what happens.’
No threat to security: James Comey goes through a metal detector on his way to testify
Former FBI Director James Comey, with his attorney, David Kelley, left, arrive to testify under subpoena behind closed doors before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018
Comey had delivered some wry pushback against President Trump as he arrived on Capitol Hill for a private grilling by the House Judiciary Committee.
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’ – and he offered a pithy answer.
‘Note that I smiled,’ the former law enforcement official responded.
Then he walked inside a committee room for a grilling that lasted hours.
Trump began his morning with a Twitter tirade where he attacked Mueller, using his professional relationship with Comey to kick it off.
‘Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest,’ Trump wrote Friday. ‘And bye [sic] the way, wasn’t the woman in charge of prosecuting Jerome Corsi (who I do not know) in charge of “legal” at the corrupt Clinton Foundation? A total Witch Hunt,’ the president tweeted at 6:18 a.m.
President Trump attacked the former FBI director as ‘Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey,’ saying he was ‘Best Friends’ with Robert Mueller
CLOSED DOOR: The GOP panel held the hearing in private, despite Comey’s demand he get the chance to speak publicly. Trey Gowdy, the GOP congressman, was among those who did get in
Robert Mueller’s investigating whether the firing of Comey played into any obstruction of justice
Comey was appearing for the interview after unsuccessfully fighting a subpoena in court. It is the first time he has answered lawmakers’ questions since an explosive June 2016 hearing in which he asserted that President Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign.
His lawyers had fired off a brief seeking to quash the subpoena, demanding ‘transparency’ and arguing Republicans would selectively leak information if he were to appear behind closed doors. They argued that a closed hearing was ‘abusive to witnesses.’
Committee lawyers fought back at Comey’s ‘grandiose’ arguments, saying he wanted to ‘dictate the terms of his appearance by demanding a public hearing.’
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.
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