Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump, will testify in the U.S. Senate next week to shed light on reports that the president asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.
Comey will testify at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The event is open to the public but will be followed by a closed session at 1 p.m. ET.
Other details were not immediately released but Comey is expected to address the circumstances of his firing. Trump initially said he fired Comey at the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but Rosenstein later testified that Trump had already decided to fire Comey.
A week after the firing, the New York Times reported that Comey had kept a contemporary record of his interactions with the president. One memo alleged that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was fired over his contact with Russia’s ambassador.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy,” Trump is alleged to have said during a meeting in the Oval Office. Trump has denied the claim, calling any suggestion of wrongdoing “totally ridiculous.”
Later in May, the New York Times reported that Trump had told Russian officials during a White House meeting that firing Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him. “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off,” Trump allegedly said.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not dispute the reported quotes. “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 said. “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it.”
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