Russia investigation: Ex-FBI chief James Comey to testify before Senate Intel Committee in open session

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Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in public sometime after Memorial Day.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, and the ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, announced Friday that Comey will testify in an open setting before the committee. The date of the hearing has not yet been set.

Burr says the committee wants to hear from Comey on his role in the development of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in last year’s election.

He says he hopes Comey’s testimony will answer some of the questions that have arisen since Comey was suddenly dismissed last week by President Donald Trump.

This news after reports Friday in the New York Times and the Washington Post about the fallout from Trump’s firing of Comey, as well as the inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The Times reported Friday that Trump told the Russians that recently fired FBI Director James Comey was a “nut job” whose ouster relieved “great pressure” on him. The Washington Post reported that a senior Trump administration official is now a “person of interest” in the Russia probe. 

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings called Trump’s reported comment about Comey “astonishing and extremely troubling.”

Cummings said the committee’s GOP chairman, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, “should … have his subpoena pen ready” to obtain any White House documents related to Trump’s meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.

Chaffetz has scheduled a hearing on Comey’s firing next Wednesday, although it’s not clear if Comey will testify.

Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein today released a statement after Comey declined to testify before their committee that reads in part:

“We’re extremely disappointed in James Comey’s decision not to testify voluntarily before the Judiciary Committee. 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….He should reconsider his decision.”

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel for the Russia investigation on Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.