Justice allows Senate panel to interview FBI officials on Comey firing

Then-FBI director nominee Christopher Wray speaks with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican Iowa, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, ahead of  his confirmation hearing before the Senate judiciary committee in July on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Story highlights

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met Thursday
  • Grassley's committee has sought to interview two FBI officials from Justice

(CNN)The Justice Department has agreed to let the Senate judiciary committee interview two senior FBI officials who could provide firsthand accounts about the circumstances around the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, potentially resolving a weeks-long standoff that led senators to threaten issuing subpoenas, according to sources familiar with the matter Friday.

The department had initially raised concerns that potential Senate judiciary interviews of FBI officials Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki could have interfered with special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation, which is looking into the Comey firing as well as potential Russia collusion with President Donald Trump's associates in the elections.
    But Senate judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley and the committee's top Democrat, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, had demanded that the two men sit down for separate transcribed interviews to assist with their panel's investigation into possible administration interference with the FBI.
    After weeks of exchanges and a nearly hour-long meeting between Grassley and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, the two sides appeared to have reached a deal.
    Final details are still being hammered out, the sources said, particularly the timing of the interview. Plus, the committee wants to the FBI to produce more documents before the interviews take place, according to the sources.
    George Hartmann, a spokesman for the Senate judiciary committee, said that the panel was still awaiting a formal response from the Justice Department.