Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties
FBI Director James B. Comey met with lawmakers from the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Friday, amid an uproar over alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
Committee members and Comey spent nearly three hours Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings, known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
Lawmakers tersely refused to comment upon exiting the meeting, declining even to confirm that Comey met with them.
The Intelligence panel’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), called the meeting “just a normal classified briefing.”
“I won’t talk about it at all,” he told a pack of reporters surrounding him by the subway to the Russell Senate office building — one of whom had leapt across the train tracks to get into the scrum. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) stood on the opposite side of the open tracks, surrounded by a separate mob of reporters, and similarly declined to offer any information on the meeting.
Asked how Comey was doing, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) grinned and said, “Who?”
As Comey left the secured room, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) waved good-bye to the towering director — then declined to answer questions about what she discussed or who she met with.
— Katie Bo Williams (@KatieBoWill) February 17, 2017
The committee is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election, including probing any contact between campaign officials and Russia. Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned Monday following revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about the contents of a pre-inauguration phone call with the Russian ambassador.
Trump has repeatedly denied any contact between his campaign and Russia in the course of the election. The New York Times reported earlier in the week that campaign associates had repeated contact with senior Russian officials in the year before the election.
Both Senate and House leadership have insisted that any investigation into Russian involvement in the election is the purview of the respective Intelligence Committees — a decision Democrats have argued is an attempt to sweep the issue under the rug.
Both committees are notoriously secretive.
This story was updated at 4:18 p.m.