Politics & Government

SC’s Graham calls on Comey to testify, doesn’t want ‘trial by newspaper’

South Carolina’s senior senator wants the FBI director fired by President Donald Trump to testify on reports that Trump suggested that he drop an investigation into a presidential aide linked to Russia.

Responding to news reports about Trump’s alleged request, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he wants James Comey to testify about his conversations with the new GOP president before a Senate panel.

“I do not believe in trial by newspaper article or investigations based on anonymous sources,” Graham said in a statement. “However, it is important that Congress call the former FBI director James Comey before the Judiciary Committee to obtain a full understanding of what President Trump may or may not have done regarding the Russian investigation, including Gen. Michael Flynn.”

Flynn briefly was Trump’s national security adviser before he was fired for lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Trump reportedly asked Comey, who was overseeing the investigation into Flynn, to “let it go,” raising questions about why Trump later suddenly fired Comey as that investigation continued.

Graham is head of a subcommittee looking into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. That panel recently heard from Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general who also fired by Trump after she warned the White House about Flynn.

Graham’s committee Wednesday called on the FBI to provide all memos relating to Comey’s interactions with his superiors in both the Trump and Obama administrations. The Senate panel also called on the White House to provide records of its interactions with Comey, including “any audio recordings.”

After Comey’s dismissal, Trump had tweeted suggesting he may have tapes of his conversations with Comey.

Graham said the sooner Comey can appear before Congress, the better.

“I’m hopeful we can reach agreement in a bipartisan fashion on how to move forward in a professional manner,” the Seneca Republican said. “The country deserves answers to the questions raised, and former Director Comey deserves an opportunity to be heard and if appropriate, challenged.”

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