Former FBI Director James Comey refused to answer several questions during his closed-door interview with House investigators on Friday, according to a report.
Fox News, citing several lawmakers, reports that Comey’s lawyers “instructed” their client not to respond to questions regarding the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, and the Steele dossier.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who stepped outside to talk to reporters during the hearing, expressed dissatisfaction with Comey’s apparent inability to responded to various questions. “One of the disappointments of this deposition so far has been the amount of times in which the FBI believes that Congress doesn’t have a right to know,” Issa said begrudgery.
The California Republican revealed Comey’s lawyers, one of which works for the Department of Justice, asked him not to provide answers to “a great many questions that are clearly items at the core of our investigation” — a directive the fired FBI Director abided by in a “gleeful” fashion, Issa told Fox News. “The Department of Justice is going to have to agree to allow him to come back and answer a great many questions that currently he is not answering,” said Issa.
Comey, whose interview is scheduled to conclude at 4:15 p.m. local time, may issue a statement shortly after his testimony.
House Judicial Committee members told Fox News that they will spend a great deal of time questioning Comey about his decision to “draft the 2016 statement recommending against filing criminal charges in the Clinton email probe before the former secretary of state was even interviewed.”
Friday’s hearing is likely the final opportunity Republican lawmakers will have to question Comey as part of their probe into the decision-making process of the FBI and Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, vowed Friday to end the probe, claiming it is a “waste of time” because its aim is to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. “The entire purpose of this investigation is to be a diversion of the real investigation, which is Mueller. There is no evidence of bias at the FBI and this other nonsense they are talking about,” Nadler told reporters outside Comey’s testimony.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announced a joint investigation into decisions made by the FBI and Justice Department in 2016. Both committees have sought answers to why FBI official chose to publically announce their investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information and why the former Secretary of State was ultimately exonerated.