Comey pri­vately grilled by pan­els

Houston Chronicle - - NATION | WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — For­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey met be­hind closed doors Fri­day with mem­bers of two House pan­els as part of a po­lit­i­cally fraught in­quiry into the con­duct of fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cials dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the Trump cam­paign’s al­leged Rus­sia ties and Hil­lary Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server while sec­re­tary of state.

The ses­sion, which lasted over six hours, is ex­pected to con­tinue on Dec. 17, Comey said, al­though a tran­script of his ex­changes with the pan­els thus far is still ex­pected to be re­leased over the week­end.

Law­mak­ers on the House Ju­di­ciary and Over­sight com­mit­tees pep­pered Comey with ques­tions on a range of top­ics, in­clud­ing the sub­stance of his memos con­cern­ing his in­ter­ac­tions with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the de­tails of his fir­ing and his knowl­edge of the ori­gins of the FBI’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Comey was also asked about the con­duct of his for­mer FBI sub­or­di­nates Peter Str­zok and Lisa Page, who ex­changed anti-Trump text mes­sages while in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Trump cam­paign’s al­leged Rus­sia con­nec­tions and Clin­ton’s emails, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss a closed hear­ing.

But Comey emerged from the ses­sion com­plain­ing that ques­tions about the Rus­sia probe con­sti­tuted only a “teeny part” of the mem­bers’ ques­tions, which were mostly fo­cused on “Hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails, for heaven’s sake.”

“I’m not sure we need to do this at all,” he con­tin­ued, “but I’m try­ing to re­spect the in­sti­tu­tion.”

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