The Senate Intelligence Committee sent two letters on Wednesday to former FBI Director James Comey and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe requesting their cooperation in the committee’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s election interference, and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was involved.
The committee has requested that Comey — who was fired by Trump last week — appear before the committee “in both open and closed sessions,” according to a press release.
Comey had previously declined an invitation to speak before the committee in a closed session, senators said last week. A close Comey associate told The New York Times last week that he is “is willing to testify, but wants it to be in public.”
The Times reported Tuesday evening that Trump asked Comey to end the bureau’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, leaving lawmakers on both sides of the aisle shell-shocked — and openly discussing the possibility of impeachment proceedings.
Comey reportedly kept detailed memos relating to what he felt were “improper efforts” by Trump “to influence” the FBI’s ongoing investigation, according to the Times. One of those memos detailed the February 14 meeting in which Trump asked if the director whether he could see a “way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” noting that he’s a “good guy.”
The intelligence committee is now hoping that McCabe, the acting FBI Director, will hand over the memos Comey wrote “regarding any communications he may have had with senior White House and Department of Justice officials” related to the Russia probe.
McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that the FBI probe into Russian interference in the US election was “highly significant,” contradicting the White House’s assertion that it was a low priority for the bureau.
He also said that “there has been no effort [by the White House] to impede our investigation to date.” It is unclear if he knew about Comey’s memo, but the Times said it was shared with senior FBI officials. McCabe was deputy director at the time.
A White House official said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump “has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country,” but that he “has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn.”
“The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations,” the statement continued. “This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.”
More from Natasha Bertrand:
- Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are throwing around the I-word amid the latest Trump-Comey bombshell
- Trump reportedly asked Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn before Comey was fired
- The 2 biggest reasons why Trump’s disclosures to Russia are so ‘damaging’
- The source of the intel Trump shared with Russia reportedly was warned months ago not to give it to him
- Trump’s national security adviser: He ‘wasn’t even aware’ of where information he shared with Russians came from
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