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Senators: Comey to testify publicly before intelligence panel

WASHINGTON — Former FBI Director James Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee, committee leaders announced Friday.

Panel Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner said they will schedule the hearing for after Memorial Day. A date has not been set.

“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 said in a statement.

Warner said Comey’s testimony would help “answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President.”

Comey’s testimony has been sought by numerous congressional committees after news broke last week that he had written a memo stating President Donald Trump had asked him to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But it was still an open question whether Comey would appear publicly, and many lawmakers began to doubt he would testify after the Justice Department named Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations of collusion between Russian officials and Trump campaign aides in Moscow’s efforts to influence the election.

House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz announced a hearing next week and invited Comey to testify, but he did so before making contact with Comey, and it’s unlikely the former FBI director plans to attend. Chaffetz, who announced Thursday he is leaving Congress at the end of June, has requested Comey’s memos, as has the Senate Judiciary Committee.