Ousted FBI Director James Comey has been invited by the Senate Intelligence Committee to meet in closed session on Tuesday, a committee aide confirms to NBC News.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told News4 he and the committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), sent Comey a letter requesting he appear before the committee Tuesday or as soon as possible.
“I would hope he would want to tell his side of the story, and I think Jim Comey could be absolutely central to where this whole investigation heads now,” Warner said.
President Donald Trump abruptly fired Comey Tuesday in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.
“I thought I’d gotten to the point where this administration, the president, couldn’t surprise me,” Warner said. “Well, yesterday, they surprised me. I felt this was totally unexpected. I think, candidly, the president’s actions were outrageous. His rationale from the current attorney general and the deputy attorney general doesn’t pass any smell tests.”
Before the president fired him, Comey was scheduled to be questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.
“I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination," Burr said in a statement Tuesday. "I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the committee."
Burr called Comey's dismissal a "loss for the bureau and the nation," calling Comey the most forthcoming FBI director he had ever worked with during his tenure on congressional committees.
In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI.
Comey has come under intense scrutiny from both sides of the political aisle, most notably for his public comments on an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year's presidential campaign.
“We’re going to have sort through all of this, and make sure on a going forward basis there’s not going to be further political interference from the White House into this investigation,” Warner said.