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House Russia investigators get second crack at Comey

House Russia investigators get second crack at Comey
Posted at 8:28 AM, May 04, 2017

Members of the House intelligence committee will get a second round of questioning in with FBI Director James Comey on Thursday -- this time behind closed doors -- after weeks of wrangling that almost knocked the House Russia investigation off-track.

Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers are set to brief the panel at the Capitol in a closed hearing that Republicans and Democrats both hope will result in more answers for them.



Republicans on the House Russia investigation have noted that there were almost 100 times during Comey's last visit where he said he could not answer their questions -- something they hope will change in the private setting.

Comey has been tight-lipped about the FBI's ongoing Trump-Russia investigation, but he did divulge some additional information at his hearing before the Senate judiciary committee Wednesday -- including telling senators that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates alerted him to former national security adviser Michael Flynn's lying about calls with the Russian ambassador and the potential for him to be blackmailed.

The last time Comey and Rogers were at the Capitol, the news was dominated by the stunning revelation from Comey that the FBI had been investigating potential coordination between aides to the Trump campaign and Russian operatives since last July. But the day after Comey's announcement, House intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes took a clandestine trip to the White House as part of a cascade of events that almost derailed the House Russia investigation, but instead ended with the Nunes himself becoming the target of a House ethics probe.

House investigators originally planned to hear from Yates and others at a March 28 public hearing, but Nunes canceled that hearing in favor of bringing in Comey and Rogers for a private hearing. But that second Comey hearing was also delayed amid squabbling between Nunes and Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's ranking Democrat.

Thursday's private hearing marks the return to relative normalcy for the investigators, now under the leadership of Reps. Mike Conaway of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

Conaway and Schiff also agreed to set a new date for a public hearing with Yates, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But as of Tuesday, Schiff said they were still negotiating with Yates' lawyers on when to bring them in.