House committee releases transcript of Comey interview

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Issa noted that his two attorneys have been instructing him not to answer the vast bulk of the questions.

In October 2017, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) announced a joint investigation into decisions made by the agencies in 2016.

President Trump has often fumed that Strzok, Page, Comey and Clinton are not the focus of an investigation.

Comey was in charge of both those investigations.

Asked if he recalled who drafted the FBI's "initiation document" for the July 2016 Russian Federation investigation, Comey said, "I do not".

But Comey relented to the closed-door interview after gaining a promise that a transcript of the session would be released to the public after 24 hours.

"We want to know what he knew and when he knew it", Issa said of Comey. He argued that Republicans would selectively leak details from the interview.

Trump said that the latest Rasmussen reports showed that his approval rating at 50 per cent.

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Staff in offices and studios fled the 24-hour news network's building after several fire alarms went off about 10.30pm. Suspect Cesar Sayoc , 56, was charged with five federal crimes and is now in custody waiting for trail.

But while Comey insisted in the interview that "we never investigated the Trump campaign for political purposes", the transcript shows he claimed ignorance or memory lapses in response to questions concerning key details and events in the Russian Federation investigation, which some GOP lawmakers continue to claim was improperly conducted.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) (above right) told reporters outside the hearing room on Friday that some lawmakers had been frustrated with Comey's testimony so far.

Comey and House Democrats also reportedly called it a waste of time and were irked by the number of questions about Hillary Clinton's emails.

"I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed and that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful responsible way by DOJ and the FBI", Comey responded.

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.

Mueller took over the department's investigation when he was appointed in May 2017 by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein just days after Comey's firing.

New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, said as he walked into the Comey interview that he will end the investigation when he is expected to take over the panel in January. He called it "a waste of time to start with" and said the "entire goal of this investigation is to cast aspersions on the real investigation which is Mueller".

After the court fight was resolved, Goodlatte said a transcript will be released "as soon as possible after the interview, in the name of our combined desire for transparency".

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