The figure at the center of the recent political firestorm causing headaches for the Trump administration will answer questions publicly when he testifies before Congress. The highly anticipated testimony of former FBI Director James Comey was announced by Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) Friday.
“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,” Burr said in a statement, “and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media.”
“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,” said Senator Warner (D-Va.). “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.”
Chairman Burr said the testimony will be scheduled after Memorial Day.
Comey was fired by President Trump May 9 to much shock and surprise – although it is within the power of the presidency to fire the FBI Director, it’s highly unusual, especially in the midst of an investigation of the administation by the FBI. Charles Krauthammer called the firing “inexplicable” while CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it a “grotesque abuse of power.”
After the firing, Trump appeared to warn Comey from a tweet that implied he had tapes of their conversations.
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The New York Times then dropped a bombshell in the form of a reading of a memo allegedly written by James Comey after a meeting which indicated that Trump tried to dissuade him from his investigation into Mike Flynn, his former national security advisor. The White House has denied the allegation, spurring many to call for Trump to produce the recordings he implied he had of their interactions.
Senator Angus King (I-Maine) said reluctantly that if the Comey memo was accurate that it would be grounds for impeachment based on obstruction of justice charges. It is anticipated that Comey will testify as to the accuracy of the memo.