FBI Director James Comey will be in Charlotte next week – taking time from an extraordinarily high-profile period for himself and his agency to meet with department personnel.
Comey is scheduled to greet and answer questions from current and retired FBI agents and their spouses on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the event.
An FBI spokeswoman said Wednesday that Comey’s trip is a routine visit the director makes to all FBI field offices to meet with agents and the FBI’s law enforcement partners. The press will not be allowed to attend, and Comey is not scheduled to make any public appearances during his visit, she said.
Citing security considerations, the spokeswoman declined to answer further questions.
Comey’s trip comes at a time when the FBI and its director continue to be involved in some of the country’s most pivotal events. Last year, Comey received criticism and praise for the FBI’s handling of – and his own unusually public comments about – Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. The issue – and Comey’s comments about the investigation close to Election Day – are credited by many for swinging the race to Donald Trump.
In March, after Trump, without citing evidence, accused predecessor Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump’s phones before the election, Comey reportedly asked the president’s own Justice Department to refute the claims.
This week, Comey may also announce whether the FBI is investigating alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, whose government-backed hackers tried to swing the presidential election to the Republican. That announcement could come as early as today, one senator says.
Comey’s October 2014 visit to Charlotte, which came about a year after he took office, was much more public. During a press conference at FBI headquarters, he sought the public’s help in fighting terrorism.
The Charlotte FBI office has had a number of high profile cases in recent years. It helped operate the undercover sting that led to the corruption arrest and eventual imprisonment of former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon in 2014; and it investigated former CIA Director David Petraeus’ sharing of highly classified government documents with his biographer, Paula Broadwell of Charlotte.