National Security

Senate panel invites Comey, former officials to briefing in Russia probe

The Senate Intelligence Committee is expressing an interest in hearing from former FBI Director James Comey again as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The committee announced in a notice issued Friday afternoon that it has invited Comey and three other former top intelligence officials to a closed-door hearing next week.

It is unclear whether Comey plans to attend the hearing, though former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers are all expected to attend.

The hearing, which is expected take place Wednesday morning, will delve into the intelligence community's work compiling the 2017 assessment cataloging Russian interference in the election, according to the committee.

That assessment concluded that Russia aimed to undermine U.S. democracy, damage Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump win the White House. 

Trump fired Comey last May, a move the president has indicated was at least partly motivated by the ongoing federal probe into Russia's election meddling. That investigation, which Comey led before his ouster, is now being spearheaded by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It has been nearly a year since Comey's bombshell testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee during which he recounted his version of the circumstances leading up to his firing.

Comey told the committee in June that the president directed him to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and is cooperating in Mueller's probe.

Trump has disputed Comey's account.

More recently, Comey has attracted huge media attention for the release of his memoir that also focuses on his firing, sparking renewed criticism from the president and his allies.

The Senate panel has been investigating Russian interference since early 2017. Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters this week the committee plans to wrap up its investigation in August.

On Tuesday, the committee released the first portion of its unclassified report, detailing Moscow's "unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign" against digital U.S. voting infrastructure in the states leading up to the election.

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