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Panels vow to get to bottom of Comey firing

Associated Press

Washington — Members of key congressional committees pledged Sunday to proceed with aggressive investigations into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election and any ties with the Trump campaign, saying the American people need a full airing as to why former FBI director James Comey was ousted.

Comey was fired by President Donald Trump earlier this month. The former director agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee after the Memorial Day holiday.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a member of that committee, said he wants to press Comey as to whether he ever believed the White House was interfering with his work, in light of a spate of news reports that Comey had kept detailed records of his interactions with Trump.

The New York Times and other news outlets reported last week on a Comey memo indicating Trump had urged him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Separately, another Times report said Trump had told Russian officials in a closed-door meeting at the Oval Office that firing Comey “had relieved great pressure on him.”

“This cloud is impacting everything else,” Rubio said, describing a number of questions, such as possible obstruction of justice, that are hanging over the White House. “So, we need to get over this once and for all.”

Leaders of the House oversight committee, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said they would demand Comey’s notes. Cummings also is urging Chaffetz, who is resigning from his job next month, to subpoena the White House for any documents relating to Flynn.

“There have been so many lies, so many contradictions,” Cummings said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the intelligence committee, said public hearings should ferret out what has been a flurry of apparently contradictory comments by many of the parties involved.

Rubio appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Feinstein also was on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” and Chaffetz, Cummings and McMaster spoke on ABC’s “This Week.”