It appears James Comey is doing more to speed-up the Trump-Russia investigations as a former FBI Director than he ever could as sitting Director.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence announced this afternoon that they’ve invited Comey to testify in their ongoing investigation into the President’s ties to Russia. Crucially, they’ve acquiesced to his one condition: that he be allowed to testify in public, open hearings.
A statement released jointly by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, reads in part:
“Today, the Committee sent two additional letters seeking information related to the Committee’s ongoing investigation. The first sent to former FBI Director James Comey seeking his appearance before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in both open and closed session.”
Former Director Comey declined an invitation last week from the House Intelligence Committee precisely because they would on hear what he had to say in closed hearings. The New York Times reported then that Comey would only appear in hearings under subpoena or if they were public. Many speculated that Republicans, who control the committee agenda, wanted to contain any damage the former FBI Director could have done in the court of public opinion, and if he only testified in closed session, Democrats would not be able to discuss his comments in the press.
But that was before the bombshell news this week that Comey wrote and filed a memo after a meeting with Trump in February where he described in detail how the President asked him to shut down the FBI’s investigation into disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
With the public’s patience running thin and a mid-term election on the horizon, congressional Republicans have no choice now but to meet the former Director’s conditions. Refusing to do so might implicate them in a cover-up, or at the very least make them appear as if they’re deliberately attempting to stall the inevitable.
Voters are watching.