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.’
Comey wouldn’t say how often he has met with Robert Mueller’s investigators.
He wouldn’t coment on the firing of former AG 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.
He wouldn’t comment on reports deputy AG Rod Rosenstein was willing to wear a wire in the days after Comey’s firing.
‘I can’t comment on that. Enjoy your weekend,’ he told Capitol Hill reporters.
Former FBI Director James Comey departs after giving a private deposition to the House Judiciary and House Government and Oversight committees on Capitol Hill in Washington
Asked about coming back yet again once Democrats take over, he said: ‘ I always want to respect the institution of congress. I would love it if they didn’t want me to testify. 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.’
Comey had delivered some wry pushback against President Donald Trump as he arrived on Capitol Hill Friday to get grilled in private by the House Judiciary Committee.
Comey was on the Hill after backing down in his effort to fight a subpoena to force him to testify.
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.’
‘Note that I smiled,’ was Comey’s response.
SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS! 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. Asked about President Trump calling him ‘best friends’ with Robert Mueller, he responded: ‘Note that I smiled’
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
President Trump attacked the former FBI director as ‘Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey,’ saying he was ‘Best Friends’ with Robert Mueller
Then he walked inside a committee room for a grilling that was set to last 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.
Comey is 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 Donald Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign.
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
His lawyers had fired 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.