Comey privately grilled by panels
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.”