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Washington (AP) — The Justice Department says it will not permit two FBI officials close to fired director James Comey to appear privately before a congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had asked in July to interview the two officials, Jim Rybicki and Carl Ghattas, and then agreed to narrow the scope of questioning after the Justice Department initially declined to make the men available.

But in a letter this week obtained by The Associated Press, the Justice Department said it would still not permit the officials to be questioned in order to “protect the integrity” of the investigation being done by special counsel Robert Mueller. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in the letter that the overlapping areas of the committee’s investigation and Mueller’s probe had not yet been sorted out, or “de-conflicted.”

Ghattas is the head of the FBI’s national security branch and Rybicki served as chief of staff to Comey, who was fired in May by President Donald Trump. Comey has said those men were among the FBI officials with whom he shared concerns about Trump’s behavior toward him, in the weeks before he was fired.

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