Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, rejected former FBI Director James Comey's call for a public hearing this weekend into an investigation regarding decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016.
Asking "about 17 months’ of work in five minutes" is not ideal, Gowdy noted during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Instead, Gowdy suggested, let's videotape the deposition and the transcribed interviews. That way, "the public can see if the questions were fair."
Comey didn't seem interested. He sent Gowdy and some of his fellow Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees the following message on Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans. I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a “closed door” thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion. Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.— James Comey (@Comey) November 22, 2018
Gowdy insisted on the closed door meeting, after which they can scrub the interview of classified information and release it.
“People act differently when there aren’t cameras in the room,” he said. “Trust me when I say that. They’re very constructive interviews.”
Like Comey, Gowdy said he is "sensitive" to leaks, but he rejected the idea that the remedy is to have a "carnival" hearing.
The FBI has never conducted a public hearing, Gowdy continued. Why would they start now?
The final decision rests with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. In addition to Comey, the panel also sent a subpoena to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.