Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Sunday said that former FBI Director James Comey’s interview with Congress should not be public, but should instead be videotaped and released.
“The remedy for leaks is not to have a public hearing where you are supposed to ask about 17 months‘ worth of work in five minutes,” he said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “I think the remedy is to videotape the deposition. That way, the public can see whether the question was fair. They could judge the entirety of the answer.”
Comey was subpoenaed to appear for a closed-door testimony on Dec. 3 as part of an investigation into the FBI and Justice Department’s decision-making in 2016 and 2017, a time when some officials believe the bureau downplayed the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and instead began probing possible connections between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
However, Comey has requested a public hearing and has said that he believes there will be leaks if his testimony were to be private.
Gowdy said he thought Comey “is right” and that “leaks are counterproductive.”
“But there is no fact-finder on the planet that tries to discover the truth in five-minute increments,” Gowdy said of a public hearing. “The remedy is not to have a professional wrestling-type carnival atmosphere, which is what congressional public hearings have become.”
When asked whether this was a formal offer to Comey, Gowdy said the committee chairman, Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), will decide. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is also to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
“What I would propose is videotape that interview from pillar to post. Scrub it for classified information in case somebody inadvertently asks or answers, and then release it to the public,” he said.
Gowdy said though, that regardless of the offer, Comey will not decide the format of the testimony.
“[Goodlatte] also is not going to let Jim Comey, who, by the way, the FBI has never conducted an interview in public. Never,” he said. “So the notion that Jim Comey all of a sudden loves public interviews, he hadn’t done it his entire career. So, Bob Goodlatte will decide and it won’t be Jim Comey.”