Comey to testify to Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Former FBI Director James Comey will definitely make a splash when he returns to Capitol Hill after Memorial Day. The Senate Intelligence Committee announced on Friday, May 19, 2017, that Comey will be testifying at a public hearing, the date has not been set. The FBI Director will be questioned about a memo he wrote after a February meeting with President Donald Trump. The president supposedly asked Comey to drop his investigation into his just fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn relationship with Russia during Trump’s campaign and the presidential transition. Trump fired Comey on Tuesday evening, May 9, as he was ramping up his Russia investigation causing a firestorm in Washington.

The Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner announced the hearing. The committee issued a statement, which read, “The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former director of his role in the development of the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media.”

Committee chair Republican Sen. Richard Burr personally commented, “I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media.” While, Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat remarked, “Director Comey … deserves an opportunity to tell his story. Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee had also requested Comey testify in front of them, however, he declined. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein issued a statement on Friday expressing that they were “extremely disappointed” in his decision. The statement also read, “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.” Comey will also decline to speak in front of the House of Representatives oversight committee hearing scheduled for the upcoming week.

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