Fired FBI chief James Comey to testify publicly in Congress

Posted May 20, 2017

On Thursday, the Justice Department said a special counsel had been appointed to look into allegations of Russian interference in last year's election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

Comey had courted controversy during the 2016 presidential polls when he revealed a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton's email use, which the Democrats claimed had hurt her chances of becoming the president.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation engaged in computer hacking and propaganda meant to tip the election toward Trump.

Trump, accompanied by wife Melania, walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday.

"We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the (Trump) campaign and Russian Federation", an official said in a statement to CNN.

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Mr Comey is due to testify to an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee after being fired from his position as head of the intelligence agency.

In the Oval Office weeks later, Comey told associates, the president asked him to shut down an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Kushner - who has been in the spotlight over the president's decision to fire James Comey from the FBI and for meeting with Russian officials - and Manafort, who is now under federal investigation.

The White House, however, denied such allegations.

The Senate intelligence committee also asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to turn over any notes Comey might have made regarding discussions he had with White House or Justice Department officials about Russia's efforts to influence the election. After Comey's firing, Trump himself has interviewed several potential nominees.

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While not confirmed by the White House, this plan of action would be a major attempt to weaken the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties with foreign actors. "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".

"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage with Russian Federation", press secretary Sean Spicer said in the statement.

Burr says the committee wants to hear from Comey on his role in the development of the US intelligence agencies' assessment that Russian Federation interfered in last year's election.

Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting.

It was later discovered that the Trump administration knew about Mr Flynn's connections to Russia - which also include payments for a speech to the Russian state supported news organisation RT - even before bringing him into the White House. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations". Rosenstein said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader". Ryan said of the special counsel appointment of Robert Mueller was consistent with his goal of ensuring that "thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead". But he added: "I haven't lost my confidence in the president to be our president, I just haven't".

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