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Comey agrees to testify in open hearing before intel committee

CBS News logo CBS News 5 days ago Kathryn Watson
President Trump, center, shakes hands with James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sun., Jan. 22, 2017.: ap-17023368201857.jpg © AP ap-17023368201857.jpg

WASHINGTON -- Fired FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to committee's leadership. 

Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner announced late Friday that Comey will testify in a hearing to be scheduled after Memorial Day. But Comey has declined to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which also extended him an invitation to testify, according to that committee's chairman and ranking member. 

The news comes at the tail end of a whirlwind day in Washington, following reports that President Trump told Russian diplomats he fired "nut job" Comey to "relieve pressure" from the Russia investigation, and that a senior White House adviser is a target of the law enforcement investigation into any ties between Russia and Trump associates. 

Watch: Senate Intel Committee requests hearing on Comey memo

Earlier in the week, reports emerged that Mr. Trump divulged sensitive information to Russian diplomats and told Comey to drop the FBI investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

Comey's expected testimony also comes after Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the selection of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the FBI's Russia investigation. 

"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, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media," Burr, a Republican, said in a statement. 

Warner was slightly more specific, hoping Comey can answer events surrounding the president's actions. 

"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," Warner, a Democrat, said. "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. 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."

Pressure is mounting in Congress -- especially among Republicans -- to scrutinize Mr. Trump's investigation in light of the rapid-fire sequences of events taking place since Comey's firing more than a week ago. 

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