Comey Is Expected to Face Tough Questioning at Senate Hearing


His high-profile announcement angered Democrats, who fumed anew months later over Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress — less than two weeks before Election Day — saying the F.B.I. had found more emails pertinent to the investigation. That revelation upended the election and later prompted accusations from some Clinton supporters that Mr. Comey had cost her the White House.

In March, Democrats got some satisfaction when Mr. Comey acknowledged before the House Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. had opened an investigation over the summer into Russian meddling in the presidential election and whether any Trump associates were involved. But they also criticized Mr. Comey for not confirming the existence of that inquiry sooner.

Republicans have grilled Mr. Comey over his decision not to recommend charges in the Clinton email investigation, and over a string of leaks to the news media from unnamed officials that were seen as damaging to President Trump’s administration in its early days and the weeks before the inauguration.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is likely to ask Mr. Comey about a document the F.B.I. obtained that influenced his thinking in the Clinton investigation.

The document was written by a Democratic operative and suggested that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far. Little else is publicly known about the document, described alternately by officials as a memo or an email, but it raised questions in the eyes of Mr. Comey and his aides about Ms. Lynch’s independence.

Last month, Mr. Grassley wrote to Mr. Comey and the Justice Department asking for information about the document, which, in a twist, had been stolen by Russian hackers.

Former United States officials familiar with the document said Mr. Comey feared that if Russia leaked the material, it would undermine the F.B.I. investigation. But former Justice Department officials said there was no evidence linking Ms. Lynch to the Democratic operative.

“A clear explanation is needed even more in light of the reporting that Director Comey had misgivings about Attorney General Lynch’s ability to appear impartial if the Russians released the email memo suggesting that she would ensure the F.B.I.’s inquiry would not go ‘too far,’” Mr. Grassley wrote.

Late Tuesday, on the eve of Mr. Comey’s testimony, Mr. Trump accused the F.B.I. director of last year giving Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, “a free pass for many bad deeds!”

The “Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election,” Mr. Trump wrote in a Twitter post after 11 p.m. “Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?”

Mr. Comey has tried to keep a low profile since the March hearing, where he talked about the Russia investigation and dismissed Mr. Trump’s claim that he had been wiretapped by President Barack Obama.

Later that month, Mr. Comey spoke to national security experts at a dinner that members of the news media attended. His agenda was clear.

“I’m determined not to make news,” he said.

Continue reading the main storySource: New York Times – Politics



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