GOP senator wouldn’t be ‘surprised’ if Comey forced to cancel testimony

GOP senator wouldn’t be ‘surprised’ if Comey forced to cancel testimony
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House clarifies: We condemn all violence Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Grassley reverses ‘expectation’ of Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE (R-Iowa) said Friday evening he wouldn't be "surprised" if Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to oversee the federal Russia investigation, intervened to stop former FBI Director James Comey from publicly testifying on Capitol Hill.

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the remark on Twitter shortly after criticizing Comey's decision to not testify before his own panel. Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing Russia's election interference.

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The GOP chairman issued a statement earlier in the evening calling on Comey to consider his decision to not testify before the Judiciary Committee on the circumstances of his ouster as FBI chief early last week.

“We’re extremely disappointed in James Comey’s decision not to testify voluntarily before the Judiciary Committee," Grassley and ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinTrump's Democratic tax dilemma Feinstein: Trump immigration policies 'cruel and arbitrary' The Memo: Could Trump’s hard line work on North Korea? MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement. 

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced Friday that Comey had agreed to testify as part of that panel's probe into Russia's interference in the election. No date has been set, but it is expected to be held after Memorial Day.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Trump's Charlottesville rhetoric 'dividing Americans, not healing them' OPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct Supporting 'Dreamers' is our civic and moral duty MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he appreciated Comey's willingness to testify before the intelligence panel but he was "surprised" he would be able to testify since Mueller was investigating conversations between Comey and President Trump. Graham also called for Comey to testify before the Judiciary Committee.

In other tweets on Friday evening, Grassley questioned who in the White House was "leaking info" from private meetings, remarking that "the FBI leaks like sieves" when concerning Trump.  

Trump's White House has been besieged by leaks in recent days as his administration has grappled with a number of controversies, including his sharing of highly classified information to Russian diplomats in a meeting last week and his abrupt decision to fire Comey.

Trump left Friday afternoon for his first foreign trip as president. The nine-day trip comes after a tumultuous two weeks in Washington, capped off with the appointment of a special counsel to lead the probe into his campaign ties to Russia.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday appointed Mueller, the longest serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover who was heralded by lawmakers from both parties, to oversee the Russia probe following Comey's dismissal.