Fired FBI chief James Comey to testify publicly in Congress

Posted May 20, 2017

Mark Warner, D-Va., said the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will schedule the open hearing for sometime after Memorial Day.

President Donald Trump is facing new pressure over his decision to abruptly fire FBI Director James Comey after the New York Times revealed on Friday that the president told Russian officials in the Oval Office last week that Comey's ouster takes "great pressure" off him.

The newspaper cited the White House's official written account of the Oval Office meeting.

Comey's associates have said that Trump asked the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief for a pledge of loyalty during one meeting.

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians - zero", Trump told reporters. Though the story has evolved over the last few days, Mr. Trump has said that "very strong recommendation from the Deputy Attorney General" played a role in his decision to terminate Comey.

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that a senior White House official was now under investigation as part of a probe over Russian efforts to tilt the elections in Trump's favor. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarizing the meeting and read to it by an unnamed us official. "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia", Spicer said in the statement. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion. Trump has denied that ever happened.

Also Friday, The Washington Post dropped its own bombshell, revealed that a current White House official who is "close to the president" has been identified as a significant person of interest in the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation".

US law enforcement uses the term "a person of interest" to mean someone who is part of a criminal investigation but not arrested or formally accused of a crime.

Trump, who has embraced what he describes as an "America First" approach to US foreign policy and worldwide trade, is expected to be welcomed warmly by leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Trump aides said he never tried to squelch the Flynn investigation nor made inappropriate disclosures to the Russians. He also plans to travel to Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily. Officials said it had nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation.

The Justice Department's newly appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller, was given the authority to investigate not only potential collusion but also related allegations, which would include obstruction of justice.