Comey to Testify in Open Session on Russia Investigation

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Former FBI Director James Comey will testify in an open hearing before Congress, senators from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence announced Friday – giving Comey his first chance to publicly recount the events that led up to his sudden and unceremonious firing by President Donald Trump last week.

This news after reports Friday in the New York Times and the Washington Post about the fallout from Trump’s firing of Comey, as well as the inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. The investigation is now in the hands of a special counsel, as well as multiple congressional committees.

Both Mr. Warner and the committee’s chairman, Richard Burr, indicated they were looking forward to Mr. Comey’s testimony about Russian interference in the November 8 Presidential elections that saw Mr. Trump secure the White House by scoring the electoral college, though Democratic rival Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Mr Trump fired Mr Comey on May 9. A Washington Post report, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, said a senior Trump adviser is now considered a “person of interest” in the law enforcement investigation into whether Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russian Federation in an effort to sway the 2016 election.

Testifying in an open session, rather than a closed one, ensures that Comey’s testimony will be public.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Donald Trump has shown his disrespect for the presidency if, as reported, he told Russian diplomats that FBI Director James Comey was a “nut job” whose firing relieves pressure on the president.

They included media reports that Mr Trump discussed sensitive intelligence on the Islamic State militant group with Russia’s foreign minister. “That’s taken off”, Trump was quoted as saying.

And, Pelosi says that Trump has left himself “very vulnerable personally” if he in fact asked Comey to end an investigation of adviser Michael Flynn.

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. It says the president then told Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador that he “faced great pressure because of Russian Federation”.

White House hopes that Trump could leave scandalous allegations at home were crushed in a one-two punch of revelations that landed shortly after his departure.

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the USA, in late November.

Trump, who has embraced what he describes as an “America First” approach to USA foreign policy and worldwide trade, is expected to be welcomed warmly by leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the president’s rhetoric part of his deal-making.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has told members of Congress he stands by a memo he wrote that preceded the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Trott says Maryland Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings asked something like, “So you woke up one morning and chose to write a memo?”

House members leaving a briefing by the deputy attorney general on the probe of connections between Russian Federation and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign say they’re frustrated at not getting answers.

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