FBI director Comey cancels South By Southwest appearance

FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2015, file photo, FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — FBI director James Comey (KOH’-mee) has canceled a planned address next week at Texas’ South By Southwest festival, citing scheduling conflicts that will keep him in Washington.

The music and film festival announced Tuesday that FBI General Counsel James Baker will take Comey’s place.

Baker will be interviewed by Jeffrey Herbst, president of the Newseum, on Monday evening, during a portion of the festival that focuses on interactive technology.

Without evidence, President Donald Trump claims former President Barack Obama tapped his phones during last year’s election. Comey has privately asked the U.S. Justice Department to dispute the claims. Obama’s camp says Trump’s claims are false.

Comey became a polarizing figured during the presidential race after speaking publicly on numerous occasions about an investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

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