Former FBI Director James Comey, with his attorney, David Kelley, right, speaks to reporters after a day of testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. California Rep. Darrell Issa said Comey had two lawyers in the room, his personal lawyer and a lawyer from the Justice Department.
Comey is appearing for the interview after unsuccessfully fighting a subpoena in court. GOP lawmakers who stepped outside while the questioning was underway indicated they weren't satisfied and will bring him back later this month.
"This is a big wild goose chase", said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) "It reinforced my view that the Clinton probe has fully run its course".
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. Although Republicans have blamed Strzok for trying to undermine Trump's candidacy, Comey said in the hearing that he found that characterization hard to believe. That session will likely be conducted the same way, in private.
So far, it doesn't seem like they're getting very far, and according Issa, Comey isn't too broken up about it. He said her actions were extremely careless but did not rise to a criminally prosecutable offense. Fittingly, a GOP member of the committee spoke to the media afterwards about how Comey wouldn't answer questions, at the direction of legal counsel.
He reiterated that the investigation was not prompted by a Democratically funded opposition research - often referred to as the "Steele dossier" - but rather contacts former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos had with an intermediary during the campaign, a finding confirmed by House Republicans. Republicans were able to hold onto their majority in the Senate.
"This is a waste of time to start with", Nadler said. "The entire objective of this investigation is to cast aspersion on the real investigation, which is Mueller".
The hearing wrapped up shortly after, when it was supposed to end around 5 p.m. ET. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Tex., could not get Comey to say through his line of questioning that the surveillance was authorized due to information from the Steele dossier.
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. He has since become a vocal critic of the president and has periodically opined on the ongoing investigation against him.
The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director dropped his opposition to a closed-door hearing on December 2 after members of the Judiciary Committee panel agreed to provide a full transcript within 24 hours and said he would be permitted to make it public. He eventually agreed to appear, with an arrangement for the transcript to be made public. House Republicans rejected the idea of a public hearing because they planned to go over classified information.
Asked if he recalled who drafted the FBI's "initiation document" for the July 2016 Russian Federation investigation, Comey said, "I do not".
A transcript will be released "as soon as possible after the interview, in the name of our combined desire for transparency", Goodlatte said.