GOP un­happy with Comey’s an­swers

The Herald Sun - - Nation - BY MARY CLARE JALONICK As­so­ci­ated Press

House Repub­li­cans in­ter­viewed James Comey be­hind closed doors Fri­day, haul­ing the for­mer FBI direc­tor to Capi­tol Hill one fi­nal time be­fore they cede power to Democrats in Jan­uary. GOP law­mak­ers who stepped out­side while the ques­tion­ing was un­der­way in­di­cated they weren’t sat­is­fied and might try to bring him back an­other day.

Democrats weren’t pleased ei­ther, but for a dif­fer­ent rea­son. They said the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans’ ques­tions were merely dis­trac­tions from the spe­cial coun­sel’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 2016 hear­ing in which he as­serted that Pres­i­dent Don­ald 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 Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton in a sep­a­rate probe into her email use. Comey was in charge of both in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Democrats have said the in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the House Ju­di­ciary and Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form com­mit­tees are merely a way to dis­tract from and un­der­mine the spe­cial coun­sel’s Rus­sia probe. Mueller took over the depart­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion when he was ap­pointed in May 2017.

Un­der a deal struck with the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, Comey was to be free to speak about Fri­day’s ques­tion­ing af­ter­ward and a tran­script was to be re­leased. Comey had ar­gued that Repub­li­cans would se­lec­tively leak de­tails and mis­char­ac­ter­ize the pro­ceed­ings.

Af­ter the ques­tion­ing was un­der­way, some Repub­li­cans sig­naled they were un­happy with Comey’s level of co­op­er­a­tion.

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