Comey will testify before Senate Intelligence Committee in open session

WASHINGTON -- Former FBI Director James Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee, committee leaders announced Friday. Panel Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner said they will schedule the hearing for after Memorial Day. A date has not been set.

"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 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media," Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said in a statement.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the panel, said Comey's testimony would help "answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President."

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah announced a hearing next week for Comey to testify, but he did so before he had even made contact with Comey, and it's unlikely Comey plans to attend next week. Chaffetz, who announced Thursday he was leaving Congress at the end of June, has requested Comey's memos, along with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Comey was fired as head of the FBI 10 days ago. The White House initially said the reason for his termination was his conduct in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, but only two days later President Donald Trump said in an interview that he was going to fire Comey "no matter what" and called him a "showboat."

The day after he was fired, officials say Comey had just requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia's interference in the election, and whether there was any collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and the foreign power, which fueled concerns that Trump may have been trying to undermine an investigation that could threaten his presidency. Trump repeatedly insisted Comey had told him he was "not under investigation," and said the director better hope there are no "tapes" of their conversations. That comment caused speculation that Trump may have secret recording devices in the Oval Office.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked him to shut down an FBI investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn. The Times had not seen the memo, which they said was unclassified, but parts of it had been read to their reporter. The House Oversight Committee sent a letter requesting the memo referenced in the report no later than May 24.

NYT: Trump brags to Russians about firing 'nut job' Comey

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President Trump bragged to two top Russian officials last week that firing "nut job" FBI Director James Comey eased "great pressure" on him, The New York Times reported Friday.

President Donald Trump bragged to two top Russian officials last week that firing "nut job" FBI Director James Comey eased "great pressure" on him, The New York Times reported Friday.

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."
Trump's Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak came one day after Comey was fired.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not refute the Times story, but said that it was Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions" that created "unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia."

"The President has always emphasized the importance of making deals with Russia as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people," Spicer said in a statement to CNN. "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia."
He added, "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations."

WLS-TV contributed to this report.

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