WASHINGTON — Former FBI Director James Comey agreed to testify in open session before one of the congressional committees that extended the invitation.
The Senate Intelligence Committee said the public hearing headlined by Comey will be scheduled at some point after Memorial Day.
“The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,” Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement this evening.
Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he hopes Comey “will help answer some of the questions that have arisen” since he “was so suddenly dismissed by the president.”
“I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed lights on issues critical to this committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016,” Warner said. “Director Comey served his country with honor for many years, and he deserves an opportunity to tell his story. Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it.”
Comey turned down, however, an invitation to face Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Grassley and Feinstein issued a joint statement saying they’re “extremely disappointed” in Comey’s decision not to testify “voluntarily” before their panel.
“There is no reason he can’t testify before both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, particularly given that the Judiciary Committee is the FBI’s primary oversight committee with broad jurisdiction over federal law enforcement, FISA and the nomination of the next FBI director,” they said. “Given his commitment to the people and the mission of the FBI, we expected him to be responsive to the senators responsible for vetting its next proposed leader. He should reconsider his decision.”
Comey testified before the Judiciary Committee the week before he was fired by President Trump, telling senators he felt “mildly nauseous” at any thought that his actions in the Clinton email investigation could have handed the election to Trump, but he’d make the same decision again.
Comey was also tight-lipped in response to any probing questions about the progress of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, refusing to answer when Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked if President Trump was among the campaign figures ruled out in the investigation. “Not going to comment on anyone in particular,” Comey told the senator.