Former FBI Director James Comey might not be able to testify before Congress now that a special prosecutor is overseeing the FBI’s Russia investigation, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday.
Graham, who chairs a Judiciary subcommittee with oversight of the FBI, had sent an invitation earlier this week for Comey to testify in an open session.
“I’m not so sure we can do it now,” the South Carolina Republican said. “You’ve got a special counsel who has prosecutorial powers now, and I think we in Congress have to be very careful not to interfere.”
Graham said that while he was happy with the decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI’s Russia probe, he thinks the decision means less information can be made public.
“Public access to this is probably going to be very limited now,” he said. “I think a special counsel — he’s a good guy, a good pick. I respect the decision. But it’s going to really limit what Congress can do. It’s going to really limit what the public will know about this.”
Graham also said he had not yet received a response from Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump last week.
“We’re gonna have to put him on a milk carton,” Graham said. “’Have you seen this man?’"
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he believed the appointment of a special counsel should give Congress a chance to “reset.”
"Essentially the people who wanted a special counsel got what they asked for, so now it’s time to let him do his job,” Cornyn said. “I do think whatever committees have some jurisdictional hook on this will be conducting our oversight.
“But I think it’s time for maybe a reset in terms of the way we approach these because we’re not the Department of Justice, we’re not the special counsel,” Cornyn continued. “We don’t have the authority to bring cases in court but we do have important responsibilities on oversight and that’s where we should be focusing."
Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett contributed to this report.