Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr Thursday opened the long-anticipated hearing with former FBI Director James Comey by thanking him for his written statement and his "candor."
"It clearly lays out your understanding of those discussions, actions you took following each conversation, and your state of mind," the North Carolina Republican said in opening remarks. "Your statement also provides text and context to your interactions with the president, from your vantage paint and outlines a strained relationship. The American people need to hear your side of the story, just as they need the hear the descriptions of events."
However, there are still outstanding issues that will come up in Thursday's testimony, said Burr, including whether the president's request for loyalty was "if in part to create a patron relationship."
He said Comey will be asked whether he believes there were potential Russian efforts to establish links within the Trump orbit that raised to the level of collusion.
"There has been a significant public speculation about your decision making related to the Clinton e-mail investigation," said Burr. "Why did you decide to publicly announce the FBI's recommendations that the Department of Justice not pursue criminal charges? You have described it as a choice between a bad decision and a worse decision. The American people need to understand the facts behind your actions."
Vice Chairman Mark Warner, R-Va.,pointed out that the investigation is neither a "witch hunt or fake news."
"This whole investigation is not about relitigating the election," said Warner. "It's not about who won or loss. It sure as heck is not about Democrats versus Republicans. We are here because a foreign adversary attacked us right here at home, plain and simple. Not by guns or missiles, but by foreign operatives seeking to hijack our most important democratic process, our presidential election."
"Regardless of the outcome of our investigation into the Russia links, Director Comey's firing, and his testimony raise separate and troubling questions that we are left with," said Warner.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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