Comey declines invitation to testify privately in front of Senate committee

Former FBI Director James Comey has declined an invitation from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to testify privately about the events surrounding his dismissal as Bureau chief and the continuing probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

“He won’t be testifying on Tuesday but it is our hope in the not too distant future that we can find time for him to come.  I believe the appropriate time and place, he will tell his side of the story. And my hope is that will be in front of our committee,” Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) told MSNBC.

Mr. Comey was dismissed as FBI director last week in a move the White House described as the result of recommendations from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Subsequent comments from White House aides suggested the president had planned on dismissing Comey earlier, regardless of counsel from the attorney general or White House advisers.

Mr. Trump broke his silence on the matter on Thursday as he hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House, telling reporters Comey “didn’t do a good job.” Reports have surfaced Trump had asked the former director to “pledge loyalty” to him, but Comey declined.

Intelligence committee panel members are believed to have sought Comey’s testimony to illuminate reasons for his firing and to be briefed on the progress the Bureau had made into the Russia investigation.

Despite Comey declining the invitation to appear, multiple sources reported Friday and Saturday that Comey has privately expressed a willingness to appear in front of the panel provided the hearing is public, although no such invitation has been extended by the committee.


[Roll Call] [The Independent via Yahoo] [New York Times] [Photo courtesy AP via Huffington Post]