Thu, 13 Dec 2018
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Washington

James Comey Testifies Before House Committee

Voice of America
08 Dec 2018, 02:05 GMT+10

Lawmakers from two House committees are interviewing former FBI Director James Comey behind closed doors Friday, the last time they will do so before Republicans in the chamber cede power to Democrats in January.

Comey was subpoenaed last month to testify about investigations into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia and the emails of then-candidate Donald Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton.

Comey resisted, arguing the GOP-led investigation in the decision-making by the FBI and the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017 was politically motivated.

Call for public setting

He said in a Thanksgiving Day tweet that he may not appear if the interview is not conducted in a public setting.

'I'm still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a 'closed door' thing because I've seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion.' Comey added: 'Let's have a hearing and invite everyone to see.'

Comey agreed to the closed-door interviews after gaining a promise that a transcript of the session with the House Judiciary as well as the House Oversight committees would be released to the public after 24 hours.

Republican lawmakers maintain that anti-Trump bias among senior officials resulted in the FBI focusing more on its probe into the Trump campaign's links to Russia and less on its investigation into Democratic candidate Clinton's private email server.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the Russia probe a 'witch hunt' and accused Comey and his close colleagues of being corrupt.

It a series of tweets early Friday, the president blasted Comey and the Mueller probe into Russia's hacking of the 2016 U.S. national election.

'Robert Mueller and Leakin' Lyin' James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest...,' the president tweeted.

Conspiracy theory?

Democrats complain Republicans are simply trying to fuel a conspiracy theory to protect Trump from the ongoing Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats say they will scrutinize Trump's attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department when they assume control of the House in January. They have also urged their Republican counterparts to shield Mueller from any attempts by Trump or his newly-appointed acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, to impede the investigation.

Wayne Lee contributed to this report.

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