Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., slammed former FBI Director James Comey for saying he wants a public hearing on Capitol Hill in the interest of “transparency,” instead of a nonpublic hearing Republicans are preparing.
The Washington Examiner reports:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., notified lawmakers last week that he will subpoena Comey for a closed-door deposition Nov. 29 and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Dec. 5.
In response, Comey said on Twitter Friday, “House Republicans can ask me anything they want but I want the American people to watch, so let’s have a public hearing. Truth is best served by transparency. Let me know when is convenient.”
“James Comey really said ‘Truth is best served by transparency’? Did he interview Hillary Clinton in public?” Gowdy, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said Monday morning on Fox News.
Gowdy ticked off several people that the FBI and Justice Department interviewed as part of its investigation into Russian election interference, including George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Huma Abedin, and Cheryl Mills.
“Has the FBI ever conducted an interview in public? And has the FBI ever conducted an interview that you were limited to five minutes, which is what happens in congressional hearings?” asked Gowdy.
Gowdy said he’s “sure” that Comey would only want him to have five minutes, but that he needs much more.
Gowdy also sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and the two panels have been investigating for more than a year the FBI and Justice Department’s actions before the 2016 election.
When asked why Comey wasn’t subpoenaed earlier, Gowdy said it is because the two panels had to interview everyone else before they got to him.
“The natural chronology of investigations is you interview everyone up to a certain point, and then you save the Jim Comey and Loretta Lynch and Sally Yates for the end. That’s how you naturally work investigations,” he explained.
Their joint investigation is “at the end,” Gowdy said. “We’ve interviewed a lot of witnesses.”
Gowdy said he doesn’t want the hearings with Comey and Lynch to be a “carnival freaks show atmosphere.”
Further, Gowdy explained that nonpublic hearings allow lawmakers and their investigative staff to ask more thorough questions that Comey and others have more freedom to answer behind closed doors.
“Oh he’s coming, whether he likes it or not,” said Gowdy. “And Bob Goodlatte will set the terms, not Jim Comey.”
He added: “Congress is going to decide how we can best advance the fact-finding and the truth.”