Ousted former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, promising added sunlight on festering controversies that continues to plague President Donald Trump‘s administration.
Comey’s testimony follows two weeks of a brewing scandal that ignited anew on May 9, when Trump abruptly fired him, sparking critics to accuse the president of attempting to derail the FBI investigation into Russia‘s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, which includes probes into Trump’s associates.
In addition to the FBI investigation, the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are also conducting their own investigations into Russia. In a statement, Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the Committee’s chairman, alluded to inquiries about Comey’s firing.
“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,” Burr said.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Committee, commended Comey in a statement and said he hoped he could “shed light” on his ouster.
“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. I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” 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.”
President Trump said that he had unilaterally decided to fire Comey, contradicting the White House’s initial claims that the decision followed counsel from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
A series of reports following Comey’s firing reveal that Trump allegedly asked the former FBI director for a pledge of loyalty and allegedly requested Comey end an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to schedule Comey’s testimony after Memorial Day.