Former FBI Director James Comey on Friday defended his conduct and the bureau’s dealing with of the months-long investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal e mail server, at the same time as he acknowledged in hindsight that the conduct of key officers concerned within the case might have created the looks of bias.
In transcripts of a closed-door listening to launched on Saturday, Comey reiterated that there was “no substantive case” towards the previous Secretary of State for mishandling categorized info. As a part of an settlement with the Republican-led Home Judiciary Committee, lawmakers agreed to launch a full transcript of Comey’s testimony inside 24 hours.
Nonetheless, Comey informed the U.S. Home Judiciary Committee and Home Oversight Committee that he was unaware of a collection of textual content messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Web page, two brokers previously assigned to Particular Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Strzok and Web page had been romantically linked, and exchanged 1000’s of disparaging messages about President Donald Trump throughout and after the election, whereas showing to advertise Clinton’s candidacy. Replying to a Congressman’s query, Comey advised he would have blocked the brokers from persevering with of their roles within the probe.
“To the extent you are asking about communications of Web page and Strzok, if I had identified about these issues that they had been speaking that I’ve seen in [the media], I’d not have had them…enjoying any function in reference to that investigation,” Comey mentioned, in response to a lawmaker’s query.
“The problem for me is I have not learn all of the texts, however based mostly on what I noticed — have seen within the media since I left the FBI, that except there was some clarification for that that I used to be lacking, in my judgment, they would not have remained a part of the investigation,” Comey added.
He additionally characterised the notorious Phoenix tarmac assembly between former Lawyer Normal Loretta Lynch and former President Invoice Clinton in the course of the probe of his spouse as inappropriate given the circumstances. “I used to be very involved by the looks of that interplay,” Comey mentioned, in accordance with the transcript.
“I bear in mind caring about whether or not she ought to stay concerned, particularly after the tarmac go to,” the transcript of Comey’s remarks learn. “However earlier than I had a chance to debate that with anybody at DOJ, the Lawyer Normal introduced that she wouldn’t recuse however would settle for my suggestion and that of the profession prosecutors.”
Comey sidestepped lots of the questions associated to the continuing Russia investigation, however repeated that Trump was not the topic of the 2016 counterintelligence investigation involving 4 unnamed individuals linked to his marketing campaign.
The transcripts cowl the primary of what’s anticipated to be two days of hearings with Comey within the Home of Representatives. The previous FBI director is because of seem earlier than the committees once more on Dec 17.
Obtain a duplicate of the transcript right here.
–Reuters and CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this text.
Learn the transcript of Comey’s whole testimony under.