Ex-FBI chief Comey to testify in US Congress

James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief fired by President Donald Trump, has agreed to publicly testify about Russian interference in the USA elections, as fresh allegations increased pressure on the American leader.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGOP senator wouldn't be "surprised" if Comey forced to cancel testimony Graham "surprised" Comey will testify publicly Lawmakers vow to move ahead with Russian Federation probes MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he appreciated Comey's willingness to testify before the intelligence panel but he was "surprised" he would be able to testify since Mueller was investigating conversations between Comey and President Trump.

"There is no reason he can't testify before both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, particularly given that the Judiciary Committee is the FBI's primary oversight committee", Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a statement. "Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it", Warner said.

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

James Comey, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee as director of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

Comey's decision ended more than a week of speculation about whether he would appear publicly to make his case since he was sacked by Trump on May 9, and underscores how the probe is accelerating.

Mr Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week that Mr Comey was a "nut job", according to the Times, citing notes taken at the meeting and read to the paper by a USA official. He was insane, a real nut job" and that "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation.

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

Separately, a Washington Post report, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, said a senior Trump adviser was now considered a "person of interest" in the law enforcement investigation into whether Mr Trump's campaign associates coordinated with Russian Federation in an effort to sway the 2016 election.

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

Spicer denied that Trump fired Comey to block the Russian Federation investigation, saying, "the investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it".

On Thursday another former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed special prosecutor in the investigation. The report says one official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion. "That's taken off" and "I'm not under investigation". Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing Russia's election interference.

Commenting on the allegations Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: "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".

The latest report from the Post, citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, undercuts Trump's insistence that his campaign had nothing to do with the Kremlin.

A Chaffetz spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Comey had indicated if he would testify.



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