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House GOP grills former FBI chief Comey behind closed doors

House GOP grills former FBI chief Comey behind closed doors

"The entire goal of this investigation is to be a diversion of the real investigation, which is Mueller".

The Republican-led committee interviewed Comey as part of its investigation into FBI actions in 2016, a year when the bureau - in the heat of the presidential campaign - recommended against charges for Clinton and opened an investigation into Russian interference in the election.

Comey has been under fire for using his personal Gmail for government business - while investigating Clinton for her private email misuse.

"It is being reported that Leakin' James Comey was told by Department of Justice attorneys not to answer the most important questions".

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.

"I'm not sure we need to do this at all, but I'm trying to respect the institution", Comey said about his testimony on Friday. GOP lawmakers who stepped outside while the questioning was underway indicated they weren't satisfied and will bring him back later this month. He said the department lawyer repeatedly instructed Comey not to answer "a great many questions that are clearly items at the core of our investigation".

Former FBI director James Comey, sacked by President Donald Trump in 2017, testified on Friday (Dec 7) before U.S. lawmakers for the first time in over a year, but this time out of the camera glare.

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At Thursday's service, they said, "For decades we have sang for him, and this is, again, a real honor to be here". During one of the eulogies, Bill Clinton wiped away tears and Michelle Obama leaned over to pat him on the arm.

The New York congressman Jerrold Nadler, who is the top Democrat on the judiciary panel, said he would end the investigation in January when Democrats took over the House.

Republican lawmakers were frustrated with the proceedings, complaining that Comey didn't give satisfactory answers to their questions.

Comey buckled over the weekend, announcing he would appear following assurances that a full transcript would get released and he could speak about what he had testified.

President Donald Trump ultimately fired Comey in May 2017.

But Comey also used the occasion to take aim at Trump's public barbs at the criminal justice system, saying "we have become numb to lying and attacks on the rule of law by the president", and Trump's suggestion that it should be a crime for subjects to "flip" and cooperate with investigators. He eventually agreed to appear, with an arrangement for the transcript to be made public.

A transcript will be released "as soon as possible after the interview, in the name of our combined desire for transparency", Goodlatte said.

He added that the Justice Department inspector general's investigation into these matters is looming over all of this.