FBI investigated four Americans on Russia collusion suspicions: Comey

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The questions that are being asked at the hearing, which is expected to run through Friday afternoon, reportedly have to do with issues including reportedly political bias of Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, Comey's statement recommending no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, and how he allegedly wrote it before Clinton was interviewed, flexibility that the Justice Department reportedly had with regards to Clinton's advisers, and possibly also concerns that the Federal Bureau of Investigation may have abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court system.

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.

Lawmakers and Comey said that the interview was tense and that Republicans were frustrated by instructions from a Justice Department attorney telling Comey not to answer certain questions about the Russian Federation investigation.

In Comey's testimony, the FBI launched investigations on four Americans in July 2016 into whether they helped Russia's alleged efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's foreign dealings, including to an associate the USA says has ties to Russian intelligence, has also attracted law enforcement scrutiny.

Republicans argue that department officials were biased against Donald Trump as they started an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russian Federation and cleared Democrat Hillary Clinton in the probe into her email use.

Comey, who has testified publicly on Capitol Hill about both the Clinton and Russian Federation investigations, balked at the subpoena because he said committees were prone to selectively reveal information for political purposes. It is the first time he has answered lawmakers' questions since an explosive June 2016 hearing in which he asserted that President Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia's ties to the Trump campaign.

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"I'm not sure we needed to do this at all", Comey said after exiting his interview with the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's foreign dealings, including to an associate the US says has ties to Russian intelligence, also has attracted law enforcement scrutiny.

'It was weeks or months later that the so-called Steele dossier came to our attention, ' Comey said.

An FBI lawyer said Comey could not answer a question about the sources used by Steele, arguing the sources for the infamous dossier - which contains allegations that the president is susceptible to blackmailing by Moscow - are still relevant to the special counsel investigation.

"Mr. Comey is the right witness, but here for the wrong questions", Krishnamoorthi said outside the hearing room, according to USA Today.

"This is a waste of time to start with", he said.

Comey, who appeared under subpoena, announced after the meeting that he would return for more questioning December 17. The hearing Friday represented an effort by House Republicans allied with President Trump to pin him down on issues important to them before Democrats take control of the majority in January. "It will snap back, as will the rest of our institutions", Comey said.

"We had some reason to suspect that there were Americans who might have assisted the Russians", Comey said. 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.

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