Former FBI director James Comey has given up his effort to avoid testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in private, behind closed doors.
But . . . he scored an important concession from the committee in return: The panel will release to the public the full transcript of what House members ask him and Comey’s answers to the inquiries.
Comey was summoned to appear before the committee to tell members about his firing by Donald Trump and about the FBI investigation into alleged collusion with Russian government agents who attacked our electoral system. We might get to know what was said at the time and what if anything his dismissal might reveal to those of us who are concerned about whether the president obstructed justice by firing the FBI boss.
Comey’s reluctance was centered on the nature of the questions that committee members might ask and whether Republican members in particular would be overly hostile. He wanted it all done in public, in front of the nation and the world. He sued to have it his way, but then backed away when Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., agreed to release the transcripts for public scrutiny.
Comey in effect got what he wanted. The public will be allowed to see what he said, what the committee asked him and will be able to discern the nature of the inquiry.
The former FBI director said in a tweet: Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.
Hey, it’s close enough, Mr. Director. Talk to us after it’s done. We’re all ears.