Monday, 26 June, 2017

Fired FBI director James Comey set to testify June 8 on Russia

Former FBI director Comey 'to testify Trump pressured him on Russia probe' Robert Mueller and James Comey: Straight-arrow national prophets for our time?
Kelley Robertson | 02 June, 2017, 02:38

The open session will be followed by a closed session at 1 pm.

During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions testified that he "did not have any communications with the Russians" during the campaign and said in a written statement given to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was not in contact with anyone linked to the Russian government during the campaign.

In addition to the two meetings that Sessions has acknowledged, the senators pointed to the possibility of a separate encounter at an April 2016 Trump campaign event that Sessions and Kislyak attended.

Comey's testimony probably will focus on the private meetings the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director had with Trump and subsequently chronicled in internal memos and recounted to associates who have divulged their contents to The Associated Press and other media outlets.

One such memo reportedly written by Comey, leaked after his firing on May 9, detailed a conversation between him and the president in which Trump said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go", referring to the FBI's investigation into Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as Trump's national security adviser on February 13 after misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Ed Markey, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN: "Nunes is too close to the Trump White House".

The scope of Comey's testimony was not exactly clear, though Mueller was permitting him to speak publicly, an associate told the AP.

"I'm not sure, but that would surprise me", Lee said on CNN's "New Day" when asked what would happen if Comey testifies that Trump pressed him to back off the investigation into Flynn.

However, there is speculation that the president might invoke executive privilege to prevent Mr Comey from testifying.

The White House said the memo is not an accurate portrayal of the conversation between Mr Comey and the President.

A spokeswoman for the committee's chairman, Sen.

Mr Mueller is now overseeing the Russian Federation investigation for the administration. He remains chairman, but Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, is now leading the probe.

Subpoenas were approved Wednesday for Flynn and his company, Flynn Intel Group, and Cohen, and his firm, Michael D. Cohen & Associates.

The former NSA director had a remarkably short tenure. Officials only "unmask" the identities of Americans for certain reasons - for example, if the name of a person is needed to understand the intelligence being provided.

Committee aides complained that the chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, who publicly recused himself from leading the Russian Federation probe in April following a secret visit he paid to White House officials, failed to consult Democrats on the subpoenas.

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