Comey Agrees To Testify Before The Senate Intelligence Committee

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee, committee leaders announced Friday.

House members and senators said Rosenstein in his briefings steered clear of specifics in answering questions about his appointment of Mueller but made clear the former FBI director, will have wide latitude to pursue the investigation, potentially including criminal charges.

"As the president has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement in response to the Post's report.

While the White House initially pointed to a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, outlining Comey's mismanagement of the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private email server, as the impetus for his termination, Trump later admitted that the Russian Federation investigation, which the president has called a "hoax", played a role.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account, only stressing that the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation chief had put unnecessary pressure on the president's ability to conduct diplomacy with Russian Federation on matters such as Syria, Ukraine and the extreme terror group Islamic State.

"If you just parse the words that Donald Trump says, it does seem very close to a confession of obstruction of justice", Toobin said.

The reports emerged as Mr Trump departed for his first overseas trip as USA president amid the controversy surrounding investigations into whether his campaign associates collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the election. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

"I'm not under investigation", the USA president told Russian officials.

The Washington Post reported earlier on Friday that the FBI has identified a White House official close to Trump as a person of interest in its Russian Federation investigation, and that the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks. Trump has denied any collusion and called the case a waste of money and time.

The White House has disputed Comey's account of his February conversation with Trump concerning Flynn but has not offered specifics.

"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.

The White House has been thrown into turmoil by a succession of stunning allegations against the president this week, including that he may have obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop an investigation into one of his top advisors. He said he had never colluded with Russian Federation.

On Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Comey's predecessor, Robert Mueller, to serve as special counsel overseeing the Russian Federation probe.

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