Former FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday that Republicans have subpoenaed him to appear before a closed-door meeting of the House Judiciary Committee early next month.
In a Thanksgiving Day tweet, Comey said he would be happy to answer the House Judiciary Committee’s questions, but will “resist a ‘closed door’’ for fear that his testimony will be leaked and distorted.
“Got a subpoena from House Republicans. I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions,” Comey tweeted. “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.”
The subpoena calls Comey to testify as part of the congressional inquiry into allegations of anti-Trump bias that led to the shutting down of the probe of Hillary Clinton's private email server and the opening of the investigation into purported ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Comey’s tweet partly confirms a story published in Politico that reported that the former FBI director and former President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, had both been subpoenaed.
So far Lynch has not made any public statement on the subpoena.
The office of Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the outgoing chair of the House Judiciary Committee, was also unavailable for comment.
Comey has been the target of attacks by both Trump and Republicans for his time at the head of the FBI, with the president labelling the investigation into allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia – now headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller – a “witch hunt.”
Democrats, however, argue that the GOP-led investigation in the House is itself a partisan move to undermine Mueller’s investigation and have promised to renew investigations of their own into Trump’s attacks on the FBI and Justice Department when they take the House majority in January.
In a statement sent to Fox News, Comey’s lawyer, David Kelley, said: "Mr. Comey embraces and welcomes a hearing open to the public, but the subpoena issued yesterday represents an abuse of process, a divergence from House rules and its presumption of transparency. Accordingly, Mr. Comey will resist in Court this abuse of process."
The news of the subpoenas comes on the heels of a busy week in the Mueller investigation that saw Trump provide the special counsel with written answers to questions about his knowledge of Russian interference in the 2016 election, his lawyers said Tuesday, avoiding at least for now a potentially risky sit-down with prosecutors.
The compromise outcome, nearly a year in the making, offers some benefit to both sides. Trump at least temporarily averts the threat of an in-person interview, which his lawyers have long resisted, while Mueller secures on-the-record statements whose accuracy the president will be expected to stand by for the duration of the investigation.
The responses may also help stave off a potential subpoena fight over Trump's testimony if Mueller deems them satisfactory. They represent the first time the president is known to have described to investigators his knowledge of key moments under scrutiny by prosecutors.
Also this week, it was revealed by the New York Times that Trump told his counsel's office last spring that he wanted to prosecute Clinton and former FBI Comey, an idea that prompted White House lawyers to prepare a memo warning of consequences ranging up to possible impeachment.
Then-counsel Don McGahn told the president he had no authority to order such a prosecution, and he had White House lawyers prepare the memo arguing against such a move, The Associated Press confirmed with a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss the situation. McGahn said that Trump could request such a probe but that even asking could lead to accusations of abuse of power, the newspaper said.
Former FBI Director James Comey is challenging a subpoena from House Republicans for his closed-door testimony in federal court.
Court records show that Comey filed a motion in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to quash a subpoena from the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees for his testimony on Dec. 3.
Comey has previously said that he would welcome testifying in public but would fight the subpoena for a closed-door appearance.
"Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans. I'm still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions," Comey tweeted on Thanksgiving Day.
"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."
House Republicans are interested in Comey's testimony as part of their inquiry into allegations of bias at the Justice Department and FBI ahead of the 2016 elections. GOP lawmakers accuse top officials of exhibiting bias against then-candidate Donald Trump in their decisions with respect to the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the counterintelligence investigation into ties between Trump's campaign and Russia.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday delayed a decision on whether to block U.S. House Republicans from compelling former FBI Director James Comey to testify next week in secret about his actions on investigations leading up to the 2016 presidential elections.
Judge Trevor McFadden, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by President Donald Trump, said he wanted to review the case over the weekend before making a ruling and scheduled a follow-up hearing for Monday at 10 a.m.
He also told Comey's attorney, David Kelley, to submit a follow-up brief to help inform his opinion by Sunday afternoon.
Friday's hearing came about after Comey's lawyers this week asked the court to quash a Nov. 21 congressional subpoena ordering him to appear before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for a closed-door deposition and stay the congressional proceedings.
Comey's lawyer argued his client will only agree to appear if his testimony is public, and on Friday Kelley accused the committee of trying to keep the testimony secret so lawmakers could selectively leak it to peddle partisan narratives.
"They want to have unfettered access in a closed session," Kelley said Friday. "They don't want all the other members asking questions. They want to zero in and gang up."
Republicans had initially ordered Comey to appear on Monday, but Thomas Hungar, a lawyer for the House, said Friday that Comey's deposition is now being pushed back to Tuesday.
Comey has been tussling with Republicans on the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees, which are jointly investigating the FBI's decisions on inquiries into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and whether Trump's election campaign coordinated with Russia.
Republicans also separately sent a subpoena to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to come for a private deposition on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Lynch declined to comment.
The Republican-led inquiry has been lambasted by Democrats as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies campaign collusion, calling the Mueller investigation a political witch hunt.
Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, is seen as an important witness into whether Trump tried to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.
Republicans have said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is biased against Trump, pointing to Comey’s decision to publicly announce the FBI would not bring charges against Clinton, as well as text messages between two former FBI staffers on the email probe that disparaged Trump.
They have also claimed that the FBI made missteps when it applied for a warrant to place former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page under surveillance.
A Justice Department inspector general report issued earlier this year criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton matter, but said he did not exhibit political bias.
WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday withdrew his bid to quash a congressional subpoena compelling him to testify in secret about the bureau's decisions on investigations ahead of the 2016 presidential election, his lawyer said.
Comey agreed to sit down for a closed-door deposition on Friday. Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee pledged to provide Comey with a full transcript within 24 hours of his testimony, and he will be permitted to "make any or all of that transcript public," Comey's lawyer David Kelley told Reuters in a statement.
In addition, a representative from the FBI will attend to help advise Comey on what matters related to the bureau he may divulge.
Comey and the Republican lawmakers reached the new agreement the day before lawyers were to appear at a court hearing. Earlier on Sunday, committee chairman Bob Goodlatte said he expected Comey to drop the legal challenge.
A judge had been set to issue a ruling on Comey's request to quash the subpoena and halt congressional proceedings - a request that has never previously been granted by a judge in the United States.
At the heart of the case is whether the panel should be able to force Comey to testify in secret about the FBI's investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.
The Republican-led inquiry has been lambasted by Democrats as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies campaign collusion, calling the Mueller investigation a political witch hunt.
Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, is seen as an important witness into whether Trump tried to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.
Republicans have said the FBI is biased against Trump, pointing to Comey’s decision to publicly announce the FBI would not bring charges against Clinton.
They have also claimed that the FBI made missteps when it applied for a warrant to place former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page under surveillance.
A Justice Department inspector general report earlier this year criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton matter, but said he did not exhibit political bias.
Kelley argued in court on Friday that Republicans are violating U.S. House rules by not holding a public hearing where all committee members can ask questions.
Kelley accused lawmakers of pushing for a closed hearing so they can selectively leak portions of Comey's testimony to undermine Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election.
But Thomas Hungar, a lawyer for the U.S. House of Representatives, said a 1975 Supreme Court case known as Eastland v. U.S. Servicemen's Fund made it clear that the Speech or Debate Clause in the U.S. Constitution provides for complete immunity for the issuance of such subpoenas.
The Republican-led inquiry into the FBI will be shuttered in the coming weeks, as Democrats prepare to take over control of the House of Representatives in January having won the majority in November's congressional elections.
The Republicans have little time to wrap up their inquiry and produce a report.
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was in office in 2016, was also subpoenaed and ordered to appear this week for closed-door testimony. A representative for Lynch declined comment last Friday when asked about the subpoena.
Although in my opinion, perhaps he should get some kind of wording from the House for the way he mishandled the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the Presidential campaign. He did go outside the norms several times to the detriment of Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON — House Republicans interviewed James Comey behind closed doors Friday, hauling the former FBI director to Capitol Hill one final time before they cede power to Democrats in January. GOP lawmakers who stepped outside while the questioning was underway indicated they weren’t satisfied and might try to bring him back another day.
Democrats weren’t pleased either, but for a different reason. They said the Judiciary Committee Republicans’ questions were merely distractions from the special counsel’s Russia probe.
Comey appeared for the interview after unsuccessfully fighting a subpoena in court. It was the first time he answered lawmakers’ questions since an explosive June 2016 hearing in which he asserted that President Donald Trump fired him to interfere with his FBI investigation of alleged Russia ties to the Trump campaign.
Two GOP-led committees are wrapping up a yearlong investigation into decisions made at the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. Republicans argue that department officials were biased against Trump as they started the investigation and cleared Democrat Hillary Clinton in a separate probe into her email use. Comey was in charge of both investigations.
Democrats have said the investigations by the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees are merely a way to distract from and undermine the special counsel’s Russia probe. Mueller took over the department’s investigation when he was appointed in May 2017.
Under a deal struck with the Judiciary Committee, Comey was to be free to speak about Friday’s questioning afterward and a transcript was to be released. Comey had argued that Republicans would selectively leak details and mischaracterize the proceedings.
Walking into the meeting, Comey said he might answer questions in public after the session. He gave a wry answer when asked if he was ‘‘best friends’’ with Mueller, as Trump has tweeted.
‘‘Note that I smiled,’’ Comey said.
After the questioning was underway, some Republicans signaled they were unhappy with Comey’s level of cooperation. California Rep. Darrell Issa said Comey had two lawyers in the room, his personal lawyer and a lawyer from the Justice Department. He said the department lawyer repeatedly instructed Comey not to answer ‘‘a great many questions that are clearly items at the core of our investigation.’’
Issa suggested the committee might bring Comey back because he wasn’t answering questions. Two other Republicans, Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, also suggested they might need a second session with Comey if they didn’t finish their interview by a late afternoon deadline.
Democrats disagreed that Comey wasn’t being cooperative.
‘‘He answered the questions he had to answer,’’ said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. But he added that he was left with the impression that ‘‘we got nowhere today.’’
Florida Rep. Ted Deutsch said the Republican majority ‘‘wishes to only ask questions still about Hillary Clinton’s emails, all to distract from the big news today, which is what’s happening in court.’’
Mueller was to reveal more details about his Russia investigation in court on Friday as he faced deadlines in the cases of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Over the past year, Republicans on the two committees have called in a series of officials and suggested after the closed-door meetings that there is evidence of bias. The investigation’s most public day was a 10-hour hearing in which former FBI special agent Peter Strzok defended anti-Trump texts he sent to a colleague as he helped lead both investigations. Strzok defiantly fought with angry Republican lawmakers in a riveting hearing that featured Strzok reading aloud from his sometimes-lewd texts, and Democrats and Republicans openly yelling at each other.
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 Democrats take the House majority in January.
‘‘This is a waste of time to start with,’’ Nadler said. ‘‘The entire purpose of this investigation is to cast aspersions on the real investigation ... there is no evidence whatsoever of bias at the FBI or any of this other nonsense.’’
Comey, who has testified publicly on Capitol Hill about both the Clinton and Russia investigations, balked at the subpoena because he said committees were prone to selectively reveal information for political purposes.
‘‘Don’t do it in a dark corner and don’t do it in a way where all you do is leak information,’’ said Comey’s attorney, David Kelley.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., decried Comey’s use of ‘‘baseless litigation’’ and called it an ‘‘attempt to run out the clock on this Congress,’’ a reference to the few weeks left before Democrats take control. Both Goodlatte and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the oversight panel, are also retiring at the end of the year.
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.’’
A report released this June from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said Comey was ‘‘insubordinate’’ in his handling of the Clinton email investigation in the final months of the 2016 campaign. But it also found there was no evidence that Comey’s or the department’s final conclusions were motivated by political bias toward either candidate.
The report said the former FBI director, who announced in July 2016 that Clinton had been ‘‘extremely careless’’ with classified material but would not be charged with any crime, repeatedly departed from normal Justice Department protocol. Yet it did not second-guess his conclusion that Clinton should not have been prosecuted, despite assertions by Trump and his supporters that anyone less politically connected would have been charged.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former FBI Director James Comey testified about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails behind closed doors on Friday before House of Representatives lawmakers and said he believed the session could have been public.
He also said he had agreed to testify again on Dec. 17.
"When you read the transcript you'll see that we're talking again about Hillary Clinton's emails for heaven's sake, so I'm not sure we need to do this at all," Comey told reporters after testifying before the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees.
"We could have done this in open setting," he said.
The former FBI director dropped his opposition to a closed-door hearing on Dec. 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.
The panels are investigating Clinton's use of a private email server while she was in office and about the handling of the probe into whether President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 U.S. election.
The Republican-led inquiry has been lambasted by Democrats as a partisan effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election. Russia has denied any interference.
Comey told reporters after the hearing he had total confidence that the use of electronic surveillance as part of investigation was handled in a "thoughtful, responsible way" by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
"I think the notion that FISA was abused here is nonsense," Comey said, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that governs use of electronic surveillance by federal law enforcement.
(Reporting by David Alexander and Makini Brice; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Sonya Hepinstall)
James Comey Comments on Closed-Door Testimony
Former FBI Director James Comey speaks to reporters after several hours of closed-door testimony before Republicans on Capitol Hill. He says he will return for a second round of testimony in two weeks. He also says he could have testified in public. James Comey FULL Press Conference After Testifying On Capitol Hill 12/7/18
Former FBI Director James Comey spoke to reporters after he was questioned by House Republicans as part of an investigation into the DOJ decisions in 2016.
“Two things were clear to me: We could have done this in open setting and, two, when you read the transcript you’ll see that we were talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails, for Heaven’s sake, so I’m not sure we needed to do this at all,” Comey told reporters after meeting with members of the Judiciary and Oversight Committees.
Comey said that after a second round of hearings, “this will all be over.” The former FBI director was also asked about President Donald Trump targeting his own DOJ. “The President’s attacks on the DOJ broadly and the FBI are something that no matter what political party you’re in, you should find deeply troubling and continue to speak out about and not become numb to as on the rule of law,” Comey said.
Comey also praised William Barr, Trump’s nominee to serve as attorney general, as “an institutionalist who cares deeply about the integrity of the DOJ”
“Bill Barr is a talented person,” Comey added. “I think he’ll serve the DOJ well.”
Former FBI Director James Comey slammed Republicans on Monday for not speaking out against President Donald Trump's attacks on the FBI and strongly defended the agency's conduct, following his second round of questioning at a closed-door congressional interview.
"Somebody has to stand up and speak for the FBI," Comey told reporters after his nearly six-hour interview with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. "People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they're not telling it. Their silence is shameful."
Comey's comments came after he spent more than five hours behind closed doors on Monday with Republicans and Democrats. He was questioned on the FBI's handling of both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation.
Comey issued a fiery and defiant statement as he left Monday, charging Trump and Republicans with damaging the FBI's reputation and asserting that "damage has nothing to do with me."
"The FBI's reputation has taken a big hit because the President of the United States has lied about it constantly," Comey said.
Behind closed doors, Comey defended the FBI, saying he and the bureau made the right call in 2017 when he rebuffed Trump's requests to announce publicly that the President wasn't under investigation, a source familiar with the interview told CNN.
Under questioning from Democrats, Comey said that he didn't want to declare publicly that Trump wasn't under investigation because of a concern that the situation could change and the FBI would have to make another announcement. And he told lawmakers that he was proven right because it now appears Trump was in fact under investigation, the source said, though Comey said that he was only basing that from public reporting and not any inside knowledge.
Flynn's FBI interview under scrutiny
Comey also defended the FBI's interview with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was later charged with lying in the January 2017 interview, and he slammed Trump's labeling his former attorney Michael Cohen a "rat."
"This is the President of the United States calling a witness, who has cooperated with his own Justice Department a rat," Comey said. "We have to stop being numb to it; whether you're Republican or Democrat, stand on your feet, overcome your shame and say something."
Republicans had a different view of Comey's interview, not to mention his tenure as FBI director, raising questions about his handling of the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia among other topics, including the January 2017 FBI interview with Flynn.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said going into the Comey interview Monday that he felt there were inconsistencies in the former FBI director's testimony earlier this month.
"I think that the knowledge of when the FBI and specifically Director Comey became aware of the involvement of the DNC, Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS as it relates to their hiring of Christopher Steele, the whole FISA application. At what point did he become aware of that?" Meadows said.
"He seemed to indicate the other day that he wasn't aware of that until he read reports long after he was gone," Meadows added. "I find that very hard to substantiate based on other evidence. So hopefully we'll give him a chance today to clarify that. I can tell you when you look at his public statements and also his testimony, those don't seem to reconcile, so we're going to give him a chance to hopefully reconcile his remarks."
Republicans spent the first part of Monday's interview with a lengthy discussion on the FBI's interview with Flynn, which eventually led to his charges by special counsel Robert Mueller. The Republican questioning over Flynn was going on at the same time Monday that charges were announced by the Justice Department against two of Flynn's associates, according to the source familiar with the interview.
After the interview, Comey defended the FBI's interview with Flynn, including his decision not to inform then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates about it ahead of time.
"Oh come on. Think about what's happening in the Republican Party. They're up here, attacking the FBI's investigation of a guy who (pleaded) guilty to lying to the FBI," Comey said when asked to respond to the criticism. "I'm very proud of the way the FBI conducted itself."
Comey sat down with lawmakers from both parties for another six-hour interview earlier this month. The committees are also interviewing former Attorney General Loretta Lynch behind closed doors on Wednesday.
Monday's sequel with Comey was be odd in at least one respect because the 235-page transcript of the first part of Comey's interview was released the day after he testified, giving the public an opportunity to Monday-morning quarterback the proceedings before they concluded.
Republicans left that previous interview saying they were frustrated with the questions that Comey couldn't answer, and they noted after the interview how many times Comey had responded that he did not know or recall an answer to their questions.
But Democrats have criticized bringing Comey back. Rep. Lacy Clay, a Democratic member of the House Oversight Committee, called the interview so far a waste of time, saying it amounted to the "last gasp" of the Republican majority.
Trump also took the opportunity to weigh in on Twitter to attack Comey and the special counsel investigation.
"Leakin' James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day," Trump tweeted last week, without providing evidence for his claim. "His Friday testimony was so untruthful! This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!"
Comey offered his own assessment after the first round of questions had concluded, tweeting that the interview "wasn't a search for truth, but a desperate attempt to find anything that can be used to attack the institutions of justice investigating this president. They came up empty today but will try again. In the long run, it'll make no difference because facts are stubborn things."
Last chance for House GOP
Comey's two interviews are part of the Republican-led congressional investigation into the FBI's conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton's email and Russia.
The interviews with Comey and Lynch are likely to be among the last for the Republican-led investigation, as incoming Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-New York, has already made clear he has no interest in continuing the Republican FBI probe once Democrats take control of the House.
Gowdy and outgoing Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte are also retiring from Congress. They haven't yet said what they plan to do to summarize their findings in the yearlong investigation into the FBI and Justice Department.
In the transcript of Comey's interview earlier this month, the former FBI director defended the FBI's investigations as well as Mueller's integrity.
"There are not many things I would bet my life on. I would bet my life that Bob Mueller will do things the right way, the way we would all want, whether we're Republicans or Democrats, the way Americans should want," Comey said.
Much of the content of the interview was similar to the questions that the Justice Department inspector general probed in a report released earlier this year that faulted Comey for his actions in the Clinton email case.
Comey was quizzed about his interactions with Trump and a potential obstruction of justice case that would involve Trump's comments to him about the investigation into Flynn.
There also were some tidbits in the interview about the Russia investigation, a topic in which an FBI lawyer limited what Comey could discuss.
But Comey, for instance, said that the FBI's counterintelligence investigation opened in July 2016 was an investigation into four individuals and not the Trump campaign itself.
New information about Flynn interview, dossier
The two-part interview has one benefit for lawmakers: Two new documents have been released since Comey last appeared earlier this month.
The FBI on Friday released a redacted version of the memo that Comey and other top intelligence officials used to brief Trump about the dossier in January 2017. The memo discloses how Steele was described, and Republicans are likely to press Comey on why it didn't include the fact he was paid by Democrats.
In addition, the special counsel's office last week released memos from the FBI about Flynn's interview when he lied about the content of calls with then-Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
The memos were released to push back on an assertion from Flynn's attorneys that the FBI caught Flynn off guard with the January 2017 interview.
They're also relevant to Comey's congressional testimony, as lawmakers asked him about his assessment of the FBI's interview with Flynn during Comey's first round of testimony. Trump and some Republicans have also suggested that the FBI didn't initially believe Flynn lied after the interview.
"They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated - the FBI said he didn't lie and they overrode the FBI," Trump tweeted Thursday. "They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!"
Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was fired over anti-Trump text messages, wrote that the agents who interviewed Flynn had "the impression that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying." But the memos did not say whether the FBI made any judgments that day about whether Flynn was lying.
And Comey pushed back on that notion in his testimony.
"My recollection was he was -- the conclusion of the investigators was he was obviously lying, but they saw none of the normal common indicia of deception: that is, hesitancy to answer, shifting in seat, sweating, all the things that you might associate with someone who is conscious and manifesting that they are being -- they're telling falsehoods," Comey said. "There's no doubt he was lying, but that those indicators weren't there."
Former FBI Director James Comey took aim at President Trump on Saturday, saying that resignations of staff members on matters of principle must be confusing for Trump, whom Comey says governs "without any external ethical framework."
Comey's tweet followed the resignations of both Defense Secretary James Mattis and Trump's envoy to coalition forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Brett McGurk, but mentioned neither.
"To a president without any external ethical framework, folks who resign on principle must be confusing," the former FBI chief, who was fired last year by Trump, wrote on Twitter.
McGurk and Mattis both announced their resignations this week following the president's announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, and reports that Trump is considering a reduction of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Comey frequently criticized the president and his GOP allies in recent months, and has called for Trump to be voted out of office in 2020.
"I understand the Democrats have important debates now over who their candidate should be, but they have to win," Comey said at a public appearance earlier this month. "All of us should use every breath we have to make sure the lies stop on January 20, 2021."
He has also taken aim at congressional Republicans, who he claims are not standing up for law enforcement against the president's criticism of the special counsel investigation.
"Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today," Comey added at a press conference following six hours of interviews with GOP lawmakers on Monday.
"At some point, someone has to stand up and in the fear of Fox News and fear of their base, and fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement."