WASHINGTON — “It would be unthinkable,” said Sen. Mark Warner, if President Trump pressured former FBI Director James Comey to back off an investigation of his former national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee made the comments in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation in advance of Comey’s highly anticipated Thursday testimony before the committee.
Last month, the New York Times reported that Comey wrote a February memo alleging Trump asked him to shut down the FBI investigation into Flynn’s ties to Russia. The paper also reported that Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to the president, something Comey refused to do.
Trump later fired Comey, prompting the appointment of Robert Mueller, Comey's predecessor as FBI director, as a special counsel to investigate the extent of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, whether there was collusion with the Trump campaign and whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation.
“I want him (Comey) to reinforce, one, the fact that the Russians directly intervened in our elections, which everybody accepts except for the president and maybe Vladimir Putin,” said Warner. Another main goal for the hearing on Capitol Hill is for Comey to clarify exactly what was said in his conversations with Trump, said Warner. “Jim Comey deserves to have his, in effect, day in court since the president’s disparaged him so much,” he said.
In a separate interview on the same show, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said she also wants to understand “the tone, the exact words that were spoken” between Trump and Comey because the context is “so important.”
She also reiterated her belief that the committee needs more resources to do a robust investigation.
“This is extraordinarily complex and we have a wonderful staff,” she said, “but I think we would benefit from having an experienced investigator” to oversee the overseeing the probe, she said.
“It’s taking up a great deal of time,” said Collins, citing three different trips she’s already taken to the Central Intelligence Agency to review raw intelligence.