James Comey, the former FBI director whose sudden firing last week by President Trump sparked a massive political firestorm that has yet to abate, will testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the committee’s Republican chair and Democratic vice chair, said Comey would speak some time after Memorial Day on May 29.
“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 in a statement.
Comey’s testimony is poised to be a potentially momentous event for the Trump presidency. The former director’s unexpected ouster from the FBI sparked bipartisan concerns about potential White House interference in an ongoing counterintelligence and criminal investigation related to Russian interference in the 2016 election designed to boost Trump’s candidacy. Administration officials initially attributed the decision to a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that criticized Comey’s public statements regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Clinton has blamed *Comey’s actions* for her November defeat.
But President Trump himself undercut that narrative almost immediately, telling NBC News in an interview he had planned to fire Comey before seeing Rosenstein’s memo. The New York Times reported Friday Trump also privately told top Russian officials the next day in the Oval Office he had fired Comey because the director was a “nut job,” and that his dismissal would “relieve pressure” on Trump from the Russia investigation.
The controversy culminated Wednesday in the appointment of Robert Mueller, Comey’s predecessor at the FBI, as special counsel by Rosenstein to oversee the…