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Senate panel invites Comey to testify next week

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has invited ousted FBI Director James Comey to testify next week.
  • Democratic Sen. Mark Warner says the invitation went out with Republican committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr's consent.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has invited ousted FBI Director James Comey to testify next week.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the panel's vice chairman, said the committee sent a request Wednesday morning but has not heard back yet. Warner said the invitation went out with Republican committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr's consent.

"My hope is that he'll take advantage of this opportunity," Warner told reporters.

Burr tweeted Wednesday that it would be a closed setting.

President Donald Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, and the president said Wednesday that the FBI director "was not doing a good job." The president did not explain more about the manner and timing of Comey's ouster, which has sparked criticism across the political spectrum.

Warner, along with many of his Democratic colleagues, has called for a special counsel in the Russia probe. Most Republican lawmakers, though, have resisted those calls and said that the Senate Intelligence Committee's probe into Russian interference is adequate.

Comey reportedly found out that he had been fired Tuesday around the time the news broke on television. Trump, who received recommendations to fire Comey from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, wrote in a letter that he wants to "find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."

White House officials are scrambling to justify the timing, insisting that Comey got fired because of his conduct in the probe into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information last year. They said it had nothing to do with the FBI's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which Comey first revealed publicly in March and includes any possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.