Grassley 'extremely disappointed' Comey won't testify before panel

Grassley 'extremely disappointed' Comey won't testify before panel
© Greg Nash

The top lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday criticized former FBI Director James Comey's decision to not testify before their panel and only testify before the panel investigating Russia's interference in the election.

“We’re extremely disappointed in James Comey’s decision not to testify voluntarily before the Judiciary Committee," committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP senator surprises top Dem with birthday cake MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

"There is no reason he can’t testify before both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, particularly given that the Judiciary Committee is the FBI’s primary oversight committee with broad jurisdiction over federal law enforcement, FISA and the nomination of the next FBI director," they added.

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"Given his commitment to the people and the mission of the FBI, we expected him to be responsive to the senators responsible for vetting its next proposed leader. He should reconsider his decision.”

Both the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees had invited Comey to testify earlier this week, following revelations that President Trump had asked Comey in February to shut down the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey agreed on Friday to testify before the intelligence panel, which is currently probing Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, as well as alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.

The judiciary committee, however, is the panel that provides oversight of the Justice Department and the agencies that fall under it, including the FBI.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP at decisive moment on Planned Parenthood Opioid crisis threatens GOP ObamaCare repeal Lawmakers want meeting with Trump administration to take US-Mexico border trade MORE (R-Texas), who sits on both committees, said Wednesday that Comey would "get plenty of opportunities to come in and talk."

"It looks like there's a little competition for jurisdiction," Cornyn said. "But truthfully both the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee have some say in all of that, so I'm sure he'll get plenty of opportunities to come in and talk."