Washington — Former FBI Director James Comey will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 30 to testify about his role in the bureau’s investigation into possible ties between Russian officials and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, committee Chairman Lindsey Graham announced on Thursday. Graham said Comey had agreed to testify before the committee voluntarily.
“The day of reckoning is upon us when it comes to Crossfire Hurricane,” Graham said in an interview on Fox News, referring to the FBI code name for the investigation. “I appreciate Mr. Comey coming before the committee. He will be respectfully treated, but asked hard questions. I look forward to this hearing. I think it will be important to the American people.”
Graham said the committee had also invited former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI agent Peter Strzok to testify. Strzok, who opened the investigation that eventually became special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, told “CBS Sunday Morning” that “nobody had any joy” in investigating whether Russian officials had contacts with the Trump campaign.
President Trump has frequently slammed Comey, McCabe and Strzok, and accused the Obama administration of “spying” on his campaign. Congressional Republicans have also raised concerns that Crossfire Hurricane was politically motivated, and Graham has been investigating the actions of the bureau for months.
The president fired Comey as FBI director in May 2017, setting in motion a series of events that led to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the Justice Department, released a report last December finding serious procedural errors in the FBI’s handling of the investigation, but cleared the bureau of being motivated by “political bias” when launching the probe. The review also found that the FBI investigation was justified.
Horowitz’s report examined the procedures for obtaining the 90-day surveillance warrant and renewals of that warrant targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. The inspector general found that there were “significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications — seven in the first FISA applications and a total of 17 by the final renewal.” Attorney General William Barr instituted new stringent procedures for applying for surveillance warrants targeting political figures last month.
U.S. Attorney John Durham is also leading a separate review of the FBI’s investigation. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty last month to making a false statement as part the investigation led by Durham.
Comey said in an interview with “Face the Nation” in August that he was not concerned about Durham’s probe and said he “can’t imagine” he is a target of the probe.
“Given that I know what happened during 2016, which was a bunch of people trying to do the right thing consistent with the law, I’m not worried at all about that investigation of the investigation,” Comey said.