The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee suggested on Thursday that former FBI Director James Comey informed him last week that President Trump is not a subject of the bureau’s Russia investigation.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley hinted that Comey made the revelation about Trump during a closed, classified session following a committee hearing last week. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein also attended.
“Shortly after Director Comey briefed us, I tweeted that he should be transparent. I said he should tell the public what he told Senator Feinstein and me about whether the FBI is or is not investigating the President,” Grassley said.
Trump fired Comey on Tuesday. In a letter to Comey, Trump claimed that the newly fired FBI chief had told him on three separate occasions that he was not a target of the bureau’s probe.
“On Tuesday, the President’s letter said that Director Comey told him he was not under investigation. Senator Feinstein and I heard nothing that contradicted the President’s statement.”
Grassley noted that Comey declined to say in the public hearing last week whether or not Trump was a subject of the investigation. Comey warned the lawmakers not to read too much into his refusal to say either way whether Trump was a target of the probe.
Grassley then called on the FBI to “confirm to the public whether it is or is not investigating the President.”
“Because it has failed to make this clear, speculation has run rampant,” he added.
Feinstein followed up Grassley’s comments and appeared to endorse them.
“Thanks very much Mr. Chairman. I very much appreciate what you said and it’s very accurate. We were briefed, and the nature of the briefing was a counterintelligence and criminal investigation that the FBI who is carrying out and more than that, I will not say either,” she said.
While the White House initially claimed that Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of the Justice Department, it trickled out throughout the day that Trump acted because he was frustrated that Comey would not end the Russia investigation.
Andrew McCabe, the acting director of the bureau, declined during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday to say whether Comey informed Trump that he was not the subject of investigation.
This article has been updated with comments from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.