U.S. House committee releases transcript of closed-door interview with James Comey

Sunday, 09 Dec, 2018

He also said he had agreed to testify again on December 17.

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that the "phony" Russian investigation is a "witch hunt" and a presidential harassment without which his approval ratings would have been 75 per cent.

Walking into the meeting, Comey said he might answer questions in public after the session.

He branded the probe a political stunt created to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the election.

When asked if the FBI had any evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign conspired to hack the DNC server, Comey gave a long-winded answer referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as to why he couldn't answer.

Comey, who brought two attorneys, including one from the Department of Justice, followed their instructions and would not answer "a great many questions that are clearly items at the core of our investigation", according to the congressman.

"I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed and the entire case was handled in a thoughtful responsible way by DOJ and the FBI", Comey said of the foreign surveillance court. "There is no evidence whatsoever of bias at the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other of this nonsense they are talking about".

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Comey has appeared before lawmakers on Capitol Hill to answer questions-both publicly and privately-at least five times since 2016.

The former FBI director went on to say that anything related to Mueller's investigation, to his understanding, would be "off limits" as it is an ongoing investigation.

Nadler will become judiciary committee chair once the Democrats take over the House in January, and he had a straight answer as to what will become of the congressional investigation. Under a deal struck with the House Judiciary Committee, he can speak afterward and a transcript will be released.

"Don't do it in a dark corner and don't do it in a way where all you do is leak information", said Comey's attorney, David Kelley.

Over the previous year, Republicans on the Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform panels have brought in a series of officials and said after the closed-door meetings that there is evidence of bias.

But Comey would not sit idle and have his testimony, which will be made public via a transcript, "twisted in that way".