The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee protested the firing of James Comey by bringing up a classified briefing that the now-former FBI Director conducted almost two months ago.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Comey presented “substantial information” on the bureau probe into alleged election meddling by the Russian government. The briefing, which took place on March 15, was also attended by Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
“I can’t go into the specifics, but you and I know that it was rather comprehensive for this kind of briefing,” Feinstein told Grassley on Wednesday, at an unrelated committee hearing. “The FBI director was precise and he presented us with substantial information.”
Feinstein did go into some generalities. She noted that the presentation “outlined the counter-intelligence and criminal investigations” into matters related to alleged Russian election interference. She also noted that just last week, Comey promised to keep Congress apprised of developments in the probe.
According to a CNN report published on Tuesday night, those developments could include federal grand jury subpoenas for Michael Flynn–the retired general and former national security adviser who was let go by Trump, after allegedly lying to Vice President Mike Pence about communicating with Russian officials.
In her statement, Feinstein brought up the CNN story on Flynn. She also mentioned “several news reports” that allege Trump started looking for reasons to dismiss Comey last week.
Feinstein brought up Comey’s firing at an unrelated hearing—one held to consider less prominent Justice Department nominations. The Ex-FBI Director had been suddenly dismissed less than 24 hours earlier, after being the recipient of a bizarre letter by President Trump.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump told Comey on Tuesday. Federal obstruction of justice is a felony offense.
Trump had been referring to a memo written earlier in the day by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The document is, astonishingly, very critical of Comey’s public statements about the investigation into the private email server of former Secretary of State Clinton. During the campaign, Trump’s crowds, at times, chanted “lock her up,” referring to the email probe.