(ABC) — Ex-FBI director James Comey could testify in an open hearing as early as next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but a date has not officially been scheduled by the committee and the timing remains fluid, according to sources familiar with the congressional investigation.
The Senate’s main inquiry is the nature of Comey’s encounters with President Donald Trump and whether Comey took contemporaneous notes of their meetings, as reported in the media.
Comey’s interactions with Trump have come under intense scrutiny since Comey’s firing, causing some lawmakers to question whether it was related to the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Senators specifically want to know if the president sought a pledge of loyalty from the Comey early on — and if Comey was pressured to go easy on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
A week after Comey was fired, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was in charge of the Russia investigation, appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller to “oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and related matters.”
Mueller has not objected to Comey testifying, provided that he does not discuss specific evidence connected to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to sources.
Comey, according to sources familiar with his thinking, wants to be transparent and will respond to questions about his relationship with Trump.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has said publicly that Comey would testify publicly after Memorial Day — and the soonest that could happen is next week, since the Senate is in recess until Monday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr told ABC News Wednesday afternoon “The Committee welcomes the testimony of former director Comey, but does not have an announcement to make at this time.”
A source in ranking Democrat Sen. Mark Warner’s office says Warner hopes Comey will testify next week, but there’s nothing to announce at this time.