Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month, Chair Lindsey Graham announced.
Graham (R-S.C.), whose committee is conducting a review of the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, added that former special counsel Robert Mueller declined to appear before the panel.
“I talked to Mr. Mueller. He felt like he didn’t have enough time to prepare. And I will honor that request,” Graham said on Thursday before a Judiciary Committee meeting.
Comey’s Sept. 30 testimony will be public, according to a Judiciary Committee aide. Securing his testimony is a significant step for Graham, who has vowed to investigate the origins of the 2016 Russia probe — specifically, the inquiry involving possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Democrats have dismissed the investigation as a partisan exercise intended to boost President Donald Trump’s reelection bid.
Comey agreed to testify without a subpoena, according to Graham, who added that his staff is “having issues” with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whom Graham has also been pursuing as part of the committee’s investigation. Graham first revealed his plans in a Fox News interview on Wednesday night.
Mueller’s refusal to appear before the committee, as Graham described it, could complicate the Senate GOP-led investigation, which Trump has openly encouraged. Last week, the Justice Department released documents suggesting that top Mueller deputies erased information from at least 15 phones, citing forgotten passwords, physical damage and missing hardware.
Graham said he intends to further pursue the issue with the DOJ in light of Mueller’s unwillingness to testify.
A spokesperson for Mueller did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The committee has already heard from several witnesses in front of the cameras and in private, including former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.