Former FBI chief Comey arrives for GOP interview

They said questions from the judiciary committee Republicans were merely distractions from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Comey was asked by Republicans about the involvement of former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok and Justice Department lawyer Lisa Page in Comey's decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for improper use of a personal email as secretary of state. Comey said the basis for the probe was "the information we'd received about a conversation that a campaign foreign policy adviser (George Papadopoulos) had with an individual in London about stolen emails that the Russians had that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton".

Trump began his morning with a Twitter tirade where he attacked Mueller, using his professional relationship with Comey to kick it off.

Under the deal struck with the Judiciary Committee, Comey was to be free to speak about Friday's questioning and a transcript was to be released soon afterward. This is a term that he began using shortly after Democrats reclaimed the House of Representatives in November.

Trump said that the latest Rasmussen reports showed that his approval rating at 50 per cent.

Republicans, such as Darrell Issa, said that Comey was repeatedly directed by an attorney from the Department of Justice, who was present for the hearing, not to answer certain questions.

Issa noted that his two attorneys have been instructing him not to answer the vast bulk of the questions. Comey was in charge of both investigations.

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

Asked if he recalled who drafted the FBI's "initiation document" for the July 2016 Russian Federation investigation, Comey said, "I do not".

Flynn, who was indicted for lying to investigators, has been cooperating with Mueller's probe.

New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, said as he walked into the Comey interview that he will end the investigation when he is expected to take over the panel in January.

"The entire goal of this investigation is to cast aspersion on the real investigation, which is Mueller", Nadler told reporters outside Comey's testimony. Both Goodlatte and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the oversight panel, are retiring at the end of the year.

The interview comes as GOP lawmakers wrap up a yearlong investigation into decisions made at the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. But it also found there was no evidence that Comey's or the department's final conclusions were motivated by political bias toward either candidate.

In addition to Comey's ouster four years into a 10-year term, Trump helped orchestrate the removal from the bureau of Andrew McCabe, who was interim director when Comey was sacked.

  • Tracy Klein