Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in open session before Congress, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced late on Friday, as the panel will schedule a hearing with Comey after Memorial Day.
“I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President,” added Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on that panel.
Senators made clear they want to hear from Comey not only about his firing, but also about the issue of Russian election meddling.
“I’m hopeful his testimony will provide some clarification for the American people,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
On Thursday, President Donald Trump cited Comey’s “poor, poor performance” as one reason that he fired Comey. Many Democrats believe that the real reason Mr. Trump pushed Comey out was because of the probe into Russian election interference, and any possible ties to associates of the President.
While Comey agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he evidently decided not to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which left lawmakers on that panel frustrated.
“There is no reason he can’t testify before both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees,” said Judiciary Chair Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA).
“He should reconsider his decision,” Grassley said in a joint statement with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
The latest developments came amid another day of blockbuster news reports about the Russia investigation, and possible ties to the President and his associates.
In one story – which the White House did not dispute – the President reportedly labeled Comey a “nutjob” during a meeting with Russian diplomats, a day after Mr. Trump had fired the FBI Director.