James Comey arrives for testimony on Capitol Hill

A 75% approval rating would make Donald Trump easily one of the most popular leaders on the planet. — AP  File

Incoming House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries on Friday had harsh words for the House Republicans' closed door hearings with former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, saying it was a "total and complete waste of time" since everybody already knows what Comey did during the 2016 election.

The committee subpoenaed Comey last month to testify about investigations into the Donald Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation and Hillary Clinton's emails. Under a deal struck with the House Judiciary Committee, he can speak afterward and a transcript will be released.

He noted that the last time Comey publicly testified before Congress, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director responded almost 100 times with some variation of, "I can not answer that question in this setting". House Republicans are expected to grill him on his agency's actions during the 2016 campaign, and his decision not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of her e-mails. They have also urged their Republican counterparts to shield Mueller from any attempts by Trump or his newly-appointed acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, to impede the investigation.

It a series of tweets early Friday, the president blasted Comey and the Mueller probe into Russia's hacking of the 2016 US national election. "But I will resist a "closed door" thing because I've seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion".

The hearings will likely be the last chance GOP legislators have to question Comey, with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

Over the previous year, Republicans on the Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform panels have brought in a series of officials and said after the closed-door meetings that there is evidence of bias.

"This is a total and complete waste of time", Jeffries said.

The report said the former Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.

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