Breitbart News has learned that former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday may have shed new light on the FBI’s decision to release a dossier on President Trump.
The FBI has long been accused of covering up a number of incidents related to its investigation of Trump and his campaign.
Comey told Congress that the dossier was part of an effort to undermine his administration.
Trump has denied the allegations and has called the FBI a “hoax.”
Comey testified that the FBI had a right to release the dossier on July 7.
“The president has no reason to be embarrassed about that,” Comey said.
“That was my understanding at the time.”
But the FBI has said it only made the decision to declassify the dossier because it was “obviously inappropriate” for the bureau to release it.
Comey’s confirmation hearing was the first to include questions about the dossier and the controversy surrounding it.
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Comey’s firing.
The committee also heard from former FBI agents and former DOJ officials.
The panel’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), said he believes the decision was influenced by Comey’s decision not to release any of the information the FBI provided to Congress during the probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey has long sought to have the information redacted from the report.
Grassley said the FBI “has no intention of releasing any information about that.”
He also questioned Comey’s use of the word “unusual.”
Grassley said he would consider declassifying information in the report “with or without the cooperation of the FBI.”
He said the release of the dossier would not alter any information in it that the committee had already obtained.
“I think the information would remain classified,” Grassley said.
Grassley also said the committee “is confident that we have not found any significant criminal wrongdoing” by the bureau.
The hearing focused on the Justice Department’s decision last year to release documents from the FBI that had been requested by Congress.
The DOJ announced last summer that it would no longer release documents relating to the bureau’s investigation into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former national-security adviser Michael Short.
The documents had been previously requested by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA).
The documents were part of a series of Freedom of Information Act requests that the two senators had sent to the DOJ in July.
The two senators, along with Rep. Adam Schiff (D/CA), also wrote to Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in August requesting the documents be released.
The memos, which were part-of the FBI dossier on Manafort and Short, were published by The Washington Post in July, prompting concerns that they may have been a way for the Trump campaign to blackmail or discredit the FBI.
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence committee in April that the information in question was “unusually high level.”
Comey told the committee that he had asked the FBI for a copy of the memos before the release was announced and that he was not aware of anyone at the FBI who objected to them.
The memo released by the DOJ last summer, however, contained “uncharacteristic” language that made it appear as if the bureau was withholding information.
“It was a very unusual memo that came out,” Comey told Sen. John Cornyn (R, TX) and Rep. Ted Poe (R/TX) in an August 2016 hearing.
“There were people at the DOJ who thought that it was going to be a little different, but I don’t know how you can have a memo that was unusual in its terms of content and then not have the FBI explain why it was different.
So, there was some disagreement, and I think it was very unusual.”
Comey also said that the memos had not been declassified as part of the Justice department’s review of the matter.
He told the Senate committee that “in the interim, we had a lot of discussions about how to make sure that we didn’t inadvertently release classified information.”
Grassley told The Washington Times in June that he has “serious concerns” about the FBI releasing the memos in the context of its investigation into Flynn and the Trump transition team.
“We should not be releasing this information, and we should not have,” Grassley told the Times.
“What the public deserves is transparency, and what the public has been denied is transparency.”
Trump has consistently maintained that he never discussed sanctions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he did not disclose any sanctions to the Russians.
Comey also testified that he believed the FBI was “just as well protected” from retaliation from Russia as the American people were.
“When the president was fired, I think people got a sense that it wasn’t as secure as it could be,” Comey testified.
“In hindsight, I don [think] that was a bad thing.”