Trump: Comey testimony ‘totally clears’ me
President Trump claimed a win as James Comey answered questions from Congress behind closed doors, tweeting that the former FBI director’s testimony “totally clears the President.”
“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. Force him to answer the questions under oath!” Trump tweeted yesterday. He added later, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”
House Republicans who hauled Comey back onto Capitol Hill one final time before they cede power to Democrats in January indicated they weren’t satisfied with Comey’s responses and intend to bring him back later this month.
An exasperated Comey meanwhile told reporters, “We’re talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails, for heaven’s sake, so I’m not sure we needed to do this at all.”
Comey insisted that a transcript of the six-hour interview, when it is released, “will bore you.” He said he expects to be back for another round of questions the week of Dec. 17.
Republicans say Comey and other Justice Department officials were biased against Trump as they investigated his campaign’s ties with Russia in 2016 and cleared Clinton in a separate probe into her email use.
Disgruntled Democrats meanwhile said the GOP-led Judiciary Committee proceeding was a distraction from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Comey appeared for the interview after unsuccessfully fighting a subpoena in court. It was the first time he answered lawmakers’ questions since an explosive June 2017 hearing in which he asserted that Trump fired him to interfere with his FBI investigation of alleged Russia ties to the Trump campaign.
Two GOP-led committees are wrapping up a yearlong investigation into decisions made at the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. Republicans argue that department officials were biased against Trump as they started the investigation and cleared Clinton in a separate probe into her email use. Comey was in charge of both investigations.
Under a deal struck with the Judiciary Committee, Comey was to be free to speak about yesterday’s questioning afterward and a transcript was to be released. Comey had argued that Republicans would selectively leak details and mischaracterize the proceedings.
BACK ON THE HILL: Ex-FBI Director James Comey, with his attorney David Kelley, right, speaks to reporters after a day of testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on Capitol Hill yesterday.