James Comey blames Donald Trump's 'mean tweets' for hurting FBI's reputation

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But Comey directed his vitriol not just at the GOP members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, but at all Republicans - including retiring GOP lawmakers, such as Sens. "How does that make any sense at all?"

Comey also declined to say whether Trump, in firing him past year, had attempted to obstruct justice, although an Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer present at the interview appeared to confirm that the Special Counsel was looking into such matters.

Comey continued, "Republicans used to understand that the actions of a presidents matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters and the truth matters".

Fox News added that "Flynn, in fact, had asked the ambassador to 'refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed on Russia that same day, ' according to prosecutors, who said the Russian ambassador 'had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request'".

"The FBI's reputation has taken a big hit because the President of the United States, with his acolytes, has lied about it constantly", Mr Comey said when asked whether he bore any responsibility for damaging the FBI's reputation.

An important point to remember in regards to the 302 forms is the fact that it was produced by disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was sacked over text messages that revealed his extreme anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias during the course of investigations into both then-presidential candidates.

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Comey's testimony marks the second time in recent weeks he has appeared before joint House committees to investigate his decision-making process and knowledge of investigations ranging from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to the Trump 2016 campaign.

Monday's six-hour hearing happened behind closed doors, but Mr. Comey has insisted a transcript be released within 24 hours as one of his conditions for testifying. "Where are those Republicans today?"

Comey said he couldn't say what the the investigative value of his testimony was.

"They got truthful testimony from me", Comey said when asked about that criticism.

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. 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.