Former FBI Director James Comey will publicly testify today before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the wake of new revelations of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
Comey was abruptly dismissed by President Donald Trump on May 9th, 2017. He had been overseeing an ongoing investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election, and had testified publicly that the FBI was examining possible collusion on the part of Trump campaign aides. Initially, the White House justified Comey's firing on the basis of how he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server when she served as Secretary of State. Subsequently, though, Trump acknowledged that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Comey, raising the specter that Comey's dismissal was an effort to derail the investigation.
Following public outcry and pressure, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named FBI Director Robert Mueller as "special counsel" to lead the criminal investigation. The Senate and House intelligence committees are also looking into the matter, and all three investigations have expanded their focus to examine the circumstances of Comey's firing. His testimony before the Senate intelligence committee will be his first public appearance since his dismissal.
The following Brennan Center team members with expertise in the FBI, oversight of intelligence activities, national security, and the presidency are available to comment:
- Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center, is a recognized expert on the presidency. From his perspective of seven years as a senior White House aide, he can discuss how Trump’s decision departs from traditional rules and norms that have guided past presidents.
- Elizabeth (Liza) Goitein is the co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. She focuses on a range of issues at the intersection of national security policy and civil liberties, including the oversight mechanisms in place for intelligence activities. She has written about the implications of Comey’s firing and the need for a robust congressional investigation, and has previewed Comey’s testimony in various outlets.
- Faiza Patel is the co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. She focuses on national security and counterterrorism issues. She has testified before Congress opposing the dragnet surveillance of Muslims, written reports on surveillance techniques, and developed legislation creating an independent Inspector General for the NYPD.
- Michael German, a Brennan Center fellow, is a sixteen-year veteran of federal law enforcement who served as a special agent with the FBI, where he focused on domestic terrorism cases and covert operations. He twice infiltrated extremist groups using constitutionally sound law enforcement techniques, and left the Bureau after reporting ongoing deficiencies in FBI counterterrorism operations to Congress.
- Wendy Weiser is the director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, which focuses on issues including voting rights and elections, money in politics, government dysfunction, and fair courts. She founded the center's Voting Rights and Elections Project, directing litigation, research, and advocacy efforts to enhance political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement around the country.
- Nicole Austin-Hillery is director and counsel of the Brennan Center's Washington, D.C., office. She is the organization's chief liaison to Congress and the Administration, serving as an advocate for the Brennan Center on a host of justice and democracy issues. She provides both strategic and advocacy counsel ranging from legislative analysis to policy development.
- Lawrence Norden is deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, where his work focuses on everything from money in politics to voting to government dysfunction. He is an expert in election infrastructure and technology, and has authored several notable reports on law and democracy.
To set up an interview with any of the experts above, please contact Beatriz Aldereguia at (646)-292-8369 or firstname.lastname@example.org