(Headline USA) Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 30, appearing just a month before the presidential election as Republicans have sought to bring closure to the travesty of 2016’s Russia hoax.
Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017, will be a featured witness in Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s investigation into the origins of the Justice Department’s Russia probe.
Graham pledged in the immediate aftermath of the two-year Mueller investigation that he would turn the tables on seditious, partisan operatives in the FBI who engineered the effort to elevate unreliable opposition research from the Hillary Clinton campaign into a full-fledged counterespionage case against Trump’s campaign.
Not only did Comey’s FBI receive cart blanche to eavesdrop on Trump campaign officials after altering evidence in the FISA warrants, but they also were able to weaponize the very interrogation process and set perjury traps for officials like former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Declassified documents have since shown that the conspiracy to undermine Trump’s campaign and early presidency took place at the highest levels.
That included meetings in which Comey conferred with then-President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden—Trump’s current campaign rival—in the Oval Office.
Comey also acknowledged that he intentionally allowed the leaking of innuendo in order to trigger the appointment of his longtime friend and boss, Robert Mueller, as a special counsel investigator.
The president has long tried to discredit that nearly two-year-long, $30+ million investigation, which concluded in 2018.
Graham said he also invited Mueller to testify but that Mueller had declined.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the cell phones of Mueller’s entire investigative team had been wiped clean of data and information, or otherwise damaged or lost.
The Justice Department’s inspector general last year found multiple errors and omissions in the applications the FBI submitted to conduct surveillance on a former Trump campaign aide early in that investigation.
Democrats have insisted that the errors in the surveillance do not invalidate the Russia investigation, as the internal Justice Department report said the FBI was justified in opening the investigation and found no evidence that it acted with political bias.
They have also slammed Graham’s investigation, along with a separate probe by the GOP-led Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, as an election-year attempt to bolster Trump.
Separate inspector general reports related to Comey’s leadership of the Trump-Russia investigation and the Hillary Clinton email probe identified significant errors in judgment but did not allege evidence of political bias on Comey’s part.
One report described him as “insubordinate” during the Clinton investigation while another found that he broke FBI rules in his handling of memos documenting conversations with Trump. The Justice Department declined to prosecute him.
Graham said Thursday that “the day of reckoning is upon us” when it comes to the beginning of the Russia probe. He said Comey would be “respectfully treated, but asked hard questions.”
The South Carolina Republican, who is also up for reelection, said he is also hoping to hear testimony from former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former agent Peter Strzok.
Strzok was removed from the Russia investigation and eventually fired after it was discovered he had sent derogatory text messages about Trump.
McCabe, who became the interim director following Comey’s departure, was fired after evidence showed he had leaked classified information to the media and lied about it.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.