Comey takes aim at Trump while testifying to lawmakers

by Garry Watts December 10, 2018, 1:22
Comey takes aim at Trump while testifying to lawmakers

The House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have been reviewing questionable decisions made by the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation related to the presidential election of 2016.

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan pressed Comey about not telling then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his meeting with Trump in which the President said to let Flynn matter go because Comey had thought Sessions was about to recuse himself.

Comey's testimony came during a six hour closed-door meeting with Republicans and Democrats on the committees in which he answered questions about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, the Russian Federation counterintelligence investigation he launched before he was sacked from the FBI and the potential dismissal of special counsel Robert Mueller by Trump.

Comey (shown above left) has been a main person of interest since the beginning, for his involvement in a key investigation and his public comments.

The special counsel says the former Trump campaign chief lied about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian staffer who worked for his political consulting outfit.

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.

The interview is expected to last much of the day.

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Republican lawmakers were frustrated with the proceedings, complaining that Comey didn't give satisfactory answers to their questions.

"That creates a problem for us, because we want to get a sense of what people's viewpoint was during this particular critical moment in time", Gaetz explained.

Over the previous year, 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. 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.

The Republican-led inquiries have been lambasted by Democrats, who will take over the House of Representatives in January, as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference.

The campaign itself, he said, was not investigation at that time. "The entire goal of this investigation is to cast aspersions on the real investigation, which is Mueller".

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". Throughout the "interview", Comey said "I don't know" 167 times and "I don't remember" 71 times, according to a 235-page transcript.

The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte, decried Comey's use of "baseless litigation" and called it an "attempt to run out the clock on this Congress", a reference to the few weeks left before Democrats take control. Asked by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) about the overall Russian Federation probe, Comey indicated that he sees things differently than many.

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