NYT: Comey Willing To Testify, But Only In Public Setting

FBI Director James Comey makes a statement at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Cliff Owen/FR170079 AP

Fired FBI Director James Comey is willing to testify before Congress on the condition that he is able to do so in public, the New York Times reported Friday.

Comey declined an invitation from the Senate Intelligence Committee to be interviewed in a closed-door hearing next Tuesday, according to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on that panel.

But a “close associate” of Comey’s told the Times he is willing to speak as long as he can do so in an open hearing.

President Donald Trump abruptly fired the FBI director, who was leading the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election and possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives, earlier this week.

Comey’s dismissal sent shockwaves through Washington, D.C., with lawmakers questioning the timing of Trump’s decision and the rapidly changing explanations for why it happened.

The White House first attributed Comey’s dismissal to a memo by the deputy attorney general criticizing his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, before Trump told NBC News that he decided to make this move on his own. The President also said he thought the Russia probe was without merit, and that it factored into his decision to oust Comey.