Former FBI chief Comey arrives for GOP interview

Former FBI chief Comey arrives for GOP interview

Comey was on the Hill after backing down in his effort to fight a subpoena to force him to testify. "I know he's an institutionalist who cares deeply about the integrity of the Justice Department", Comey said.

That's according to a closed-door interview former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey gave Friday to the House Judiciary Committee.

Comey defended the Mueller probe as important and said it is being handled "very professionally".

As the interview with Comey ended, Mueller revealed new details about his Russian Federation investigation in court on Friday in the cases of Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen. President Trump's campaign chairman, top campaign aide, former national security advisor and longtime personal attorney are all cooperating in the inquiry, which the president calls a "witch hunt".

Comey had originally demanded that any interview before the joint panel of House Judiciary Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee members be conducted in public to avoid selective leaks. Comey added: "Let's have a hearing and invite everyone to see".

His lawyers had fired a brief seeking to quash the subpoena, demanding "transparency" and arguing Republicans would selectively leak information if he were to appear behind closed doors.

He argued that the hearing is a big wild goose chase.

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Comey said that he will be back for a second round of hearings and "then this will all be over".

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.

Comey's interview came as GOP lawmakers are wrapping up a yearlong investigation into decisions made at the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. Comey told reporters that he will not discuss details of the ongoing investigation into possible Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Comey was the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation until Trump dismissed him on May 9, 2017.

He also said that President Barack Obama never ordered him to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation surveil or infiltrate the Trump campaign. "The Democrats' political position has always been that the investigation of the investigators is a distraction and something that's being concocted in order to undermine the credibility of Mueller's investigation". Mueller took over the department's investigation when he was appointed in May 2017. Control of Congress shifts in January to Democrats, who are keen to end or alter the probe.

His testimony was originally delayed after Comey filed a legal challenge, stating he anxious Republicans would selectively leak only parts of the deposition. While such closed-door interviews often extend late into the night, lawmakers said Friday that the interview would end in the afternoon because of scheduling issues.

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