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Week ahead: Comey to testify publicly on Trump, Russia | DHS chief talks cyber budget

Week ahead: Comey to testify publicly on Trump, Russia | DHS chief talks cyber budget
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James Comey, who was ousted as FBI director by President Trump less than a month ago, will testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Comey's testimony is sure to be the latest flashpoint in the ongoing saga of Russian election interference that has dogged Trump, as federal investigators probe whether there was coordination between his campaign and Moscow.

Trump set off a media firestorm in May when he fired Comey, and initially claiming he acted on recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Later developments--including Trump's own suggestion that the Russia probe figured into his decision-making--have fueled speculation of possible obstruction of justice.

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It is unlikely that Comey will divulge many details about the Russian interference probe, which is now being headed by Robert Mueller. Mueller, former FBI chief, was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the investigation amid the uproar over Comey's firing.

Comey is, however, expected to testify about his interactions with Trump before his ouster. In the days following his removal, accounts emerged of a memo that Comey left behind indicating Trump had asked him to drop the bureau's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey will appear before the committee in an open setting Thursday morning, which will be followed by a closed hearing on Russian election interference.

The coming week--which represents the first in a four-week slog for lawmakers in Washington--will also bring more testimony on Trump's fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is slated to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday regarding his department's budget request. Kelly will also testify on the same topic before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday.

Kelly is likely to highlight the increased funds for DHS's cybersecurity efforts, as he has in previous hearings on the budget proposal.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) may also finally introduce a bill to reorganize DHS's cyber efforts, which he recently predicted would happen as early as the past week.

The House Homeland Security Committee chairman has solicited feedback from the new administration on the legislation, which is an extension of a previous effort to replace the department's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) with a new operational agency to handle cyber.

Off Capitol Hill, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), a key voice in the House on cyber, and Adm. Mike Rogers, who leads the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, will each deliver keynote remarks at an annual forum hosted by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology on Wednesday.

 

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