The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says former FBI Director James Comey has agree to testify publicly about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced in a statement Friday that Comey would testify before the panel after May 29.
“I am hopeful that he (Comey) will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,” said Senator Richard Burr, a Republican who chairs the panel.
“I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the president,” the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, added.
The revelation comes at the end of a week that saw one stunning development after another.
Just hours earlier Friday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office earlier this month that he had just fired Comey, calling him a “nut job.”
The Times quoted a document read to the Times by a U.S. official. The document quoted Trump as saying, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.”
According to the document, Trump went on to say, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Trump also reportedly said, “I’m not under investigation.”
On Thursday, The Times cited a friend of Comey's saying Comey was uneasy with the president's friendly overtures and struggled to maintain a professional boundary.
The Times cited Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and frequent Trump critic, as saying Comey felt the contacts by Trump were inappropriate and that the now-former agency chief didn't want to be friendly with the president.
The contacts include a dinner in which Trump allegedly asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president, and a meeting with Comey in the Oval Office where Trump allegedly said he hoped the investigation into the president's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, could be dropped.
Two anonymous sources told The Times the president called Comey shortly after being inaugurated and asked if the FBI was ever going to specify that Trump was not personally under investigation.
According to those people, Comey said Trump should not contact him directly, but instead have a White House lawyer handle any inquiries to the Justice Department.
Reports say Comey wrote memos after each encounter with Trump detailing the contents of their conversations. Trump has denied making the Flynn request and the paper concedes that its reporter never actually saw any memos about the conversations.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement to the paper that "the sworn testimony" of both Comey and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe "make clear that there was never any attempt to interfere in this investigation."
Congressional investigators have requested copies of all the Comey memos.
Comey, at the time of the Trump contacts, was overseeing an investigation into any possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. Trump fired Comey as FBI director earlier this month.