WASHINGTON — Former FBI Director James Comey arrived on Capitol Hill on Friday morning for a grilling before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
During the closed-door hearing, GOP members were expected to focus on how the FBI and Justice Department handled the Hillary Clinton email probe and launch of the Russia investigation surrounding President Trump.
“I’ve got lots of questions,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as he walked into the hearing room.
The interview comes as GOP lawmakers are wrapping up a yearlong investigation into decisions made at the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election.
Republicans argue that department officials were biased against Trump as they started an investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia and cleared Clinton in a separate investigation into her email use.
Comey was in charge of both those investigations.
Jordan said he planned to raise questions about former British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the Russia dossier.
“Christopher Steele had told him (DOJ official Bruce Ohr) he was desperate to stop President Trump from being president,” Jordan said. “I want to know when James Comey knew that. More importantly, did he know that before they went to the FISA court with Mr. Steele’s work product?”
But Democrats argue that summoning Comey is the GOP’s final attempt to distract from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe before they lose control of the House in January.
“I think this is a big wild goose chase,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.). “This is the last gasps of the investigation into Hillary Clinton, which is just old news. At this point, we should be talking about protecting our democracy from further Russian interference.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said he plans to shut down this line of inquiry once he becomes chairman of the Judiciary Committee in January.
“It’s a waste of time to start with,” Nadler said Friday. “The entire purpose of this investigation is to cast dispersion on the real investigation (by) Robert Mueller. There’s no evidence whatsoever of bias at the FBI.”
Comey was also expected to take heat Friday for using personal email for government business while he bashed Clinton for her private email practices. The Post exclusively reported in November that Comey used private email for FBI business many times.
The Cause of Action Institute, a conservative watchdog group, filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit for Comey’s Gmail correspondence. The Justice Department responded that there were an eye-popping 1,200 pages of messages from Comey and his chief of staff that met the criteria.
A new batch of his private emails was released to The Post on Thursday that showed a Comey pal was unwittingly involved in the Pizzagate conspiracy.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he’s concerned about Comey’s use of personal email and any other government official who violates federal record-keeping laws.
“Those who are forthcoming about their use of private email and making them available can undo some of the damage,” Issa said. “Those who deny it and we have to discover it are clearly committing a crime.”
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