Former FBI Director James Comey is sitting with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees behind closed doors on Friday to answer (or not answer) their questions. Congress is investigating how FBI and DOJ handled the Hillary Clinton and Russia probes and, as you can imagine, Comey was one of the top witnesses on their list.
It doesn't seem to be going as planned. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) appeared to be most frustrated, explaining to the press that Comey came with two attorneys, one of whom has instructed his client to answer very few questions.
Issa: Comey is in there with two attorneys. One that's from the DoJ has repeatedly, I would say at his gleeful acceptance, instructed that he will not be answering a great many questions that are clearly items at core of our investigation— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 7, 2018
“We absolutely need to get answers,” Issa said.
The Republicans are also frustrated with a witness who has yet to show. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has yet to appear, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) had a few guesses as to why.
Madows: I think the holdup is twofold in why Rod Rosenstein has not come in. One is certainly with Rod Rosenstein & DoJ, but the other is quite frankly our side not being persistent & tenacious enough to get that done.I believe that we've got to do that before the end of the yr— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 7, 2018
He's not the only one who feels that way. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who sits on the House Freedom Caucus with Meadows, thinks Rosenstein needs to explain a controversial New York Times report that suggested he had secretly recorded President Trump in the White House.
Comey in for questions today.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 7, 2018
Rosenstein should be next.
It’s been 11 weeks since he made comments about:
-Wearing a wire to record the President
-Invoking the 25th Amendment
Democrats had much different takes on Capitol Hill this morning, telling the press that the closed door meeting with Comey is unnecessary and clearly a ploy to disrupt special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
“It’s a waste of time to start with and there’s nothing," said Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). "The entire purpose of this investigation is to cast aspersions on the real investigation which is Mueller. There is no evidence whatsoever of bias at the FBI or any other of this nonsense they are talking about.”
Nadler will become judiciary committee chair once the Democrats take over the House in January, and he had a straight answer as to what will become of the congressional investigation.
Incoming Judiciary Cmte chair Nadler on the probe of Comey. Asked if he will end it once he becomes chair: Yes...because it's a waste of time to start with. The entire purpose of this investigation is to cast aspersion on the real investigation which is Mueller.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 7, 2018
The Democrats are advocating for Comey to give public testimony, but critics note that only gives each lawmaker 5-minute intervals to ask questions.
President Trump has dismissed Mueller's Russia investigation as a "witch hunt." His team is currently drafting a counter report.
A transcript of Comey's sit down with Congress is expected to be released in the next 24 hours.
"You're going to be displeased and maybe a little surprised by the answers," Issa said on Fox News following the Capitol Hill press gaggle.