Leaders on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are investigating the circumstances around the firing of former FBI director James Comey, will meet with special counsel Robert Mueller this week, a committee spokesman confirmed Tuesday morning.
The committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and its top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, announced last week that they will launch a probe that examines not only what led to Comey’s surprise firing last month, but also any attempts to influence FBI investigations under the Obama administration. The meeting was first reported by Reuters.
Key senators on the Intelligence Committee, which is leading the congressional investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign, had their own private meeting with Mueller last week to ensure their respective probes don’t conflict with each other.
But members of the Judiciary Committee, which has broad oversight of the Justice Department and the FBI, have been seeking their own ways to make sure that the congressional probes and Mueller’s investigation can run simultaneously.
“It’s a possibility, as we saw in things like congressional grants of immunity to witnesses who then can’t be prosecuted,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in an interview last week about the potential for the probes to run into each other. “It’s also possible, if congressional testimony outs a cooperating witness who otherwise people don’t know is cooperating.”
Whitehouse added, “There are a few areas where it’s possible for there to be some conflict and so that’s why we’ve asked for the Department of Justice to set up a deconfliction apparatus of some kind so we can talk to each other.”
A Judiciary subcommittee led by Whitehouse and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which has already been looking into the FBI’s role in the Russia probe, is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon looking at concurrent criminal and congressional investigations.