The U.S. congressional committee tasked with investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign has asked the heads of the FBI and National Security Agency to testify again about the matter, the head of the committee said Friday.
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters the follow-up testimony from FBI director James Comey and NSA chief Michael Rogers will take place Tuesday in a closed session.
In order to make time for the new closed hearing, Nunes said a previously scheduled hearing with several senior Obama administration officials, including the former CIA director, would need to be canceled.
Top Democrat protests
Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the panel, immediately accused Nunes of trying to “choke off public info” with the move.
"We don't welcome cutting off public access to information," Schiff told reporters in a briefing held directly after Nunes’s.
Nunes insisted the cancellation of the public hearing was not political.
Nunes also said the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort volunteered to appear before the committee to answer any questions regarding his ties to Russia’s government.
Nunes said government lawyers are working with Manafort’s lawyers to schedule the testimony, which could be open or closed, depending on Manafort’s preference.
“If he wants to come out in public and have a public hearing, he’s more than welcome to do that. If he wants to do it in a closed setting, that’s also fine with me,” Nunes said.
Manafort’s offer to testify came after news reports claimed he agreed more than a decade ago to run a political-influence campaign on behalf of a Russian oligarch.