The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials
Posted September 27
WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 election (all times local):
The Justice Department has agreed to allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to interview two FBI officials close to fired director James Comey — under certain conditions.
The department sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Sept. 22 after Grassley said he was preparing subpoenas for the two to appear. But the department said Jim Rybicki and Carl Ghattas could only speak to the committee if they avoided questions "directly relating to, or interfering with" the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Both Mueller and the Judiciary Committee are probing President Donald Trump's firing of Comey in May and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In a letter Wednesday, Grassley asked the department for clarification, saying he would still subpoena the witnesses if they wouldn't talk about certain topics.
Twitter officials are scheduled to brief staff on the House intelligence committee, in addition to briefing Senate intelligence committee staff, on Russian efforts to meddle in the elections.
That's according to Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House committee, who spoke to The Associated Press.
Both briefings are to take place Thursday.
Schiff said Twitter, Facebook and Google are also expected to appear before the House intelligence committee in a public hearing next month, although a date has not yet been set.
Facebook revealed earlier this month that Russians spent $100,000 in advertising on its platform. Schiff said Russia combined that with other efforts to spread fake news on Twitter and Google in a way that may have had a "decisive" impact on the election.
One of the congressional committees investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election has invited the tech giants Facebook, Twitter and the parent company of Google to appear for a public hearing on Nov. 1.
That's according to a person familiar with the Senate intelligence committee's interactions with the companies. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private discussions between the committee and the companies.
Top members of the Senate panel have been scrutinizing the ways that the social media platforms and online ads were used by Russians to influence the election. Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, had called for a public hearing with the tech companies earlier this month. Twitter is scheduled to meet behind closed doors with the committee's staff on Thursday.