Comey to testify before Senate intel committee

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 'frustratingly cautious' in briefing House members

Former FBI Director James Comey, who was sacked by President Donald Trump last week amid an agency probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election, has agreed to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing, the committee said in a statement on Friday.

Comey's firing sparked suspicion among Trump's critics and lawmakers anxious that the president might use his power to influence the FBI's investigation into whether Trump or his advisers colluded with Russian Federation to win November's presidential election. The document was read to the newspaper by an American official. "He was insane, a real nut job", Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official.

The report comes at the start of Trump's first multi-nation trip as president and during a troubling period for the White House.

Trump later said he had already made a decision to fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein's memo, which the deputy attorney general confirmed to Congress this week.

House members and senators said Rosenstein steered clear of specifics in answering questions about his appointment of former FBI director as special counsel but made clear that Mueller has wide latitude to pursue the investigation wherever it leads, potentially including criminal charges.

While it is unknown whether the President has either tapes or notes of his conversations with Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director kept meticulous memos and shared them with his team contemporaneously.

TASS posted pictures showing the trio together in the Oval Office, angering the White House and adding odd and ironic optics to questions swirling around the White House over Comey's firing and the investigations into allegations of questionable ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Mr Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Mr Comey has told associates, Mr Trump asked for his loyalty. Jeanne Shaheen said, "his appointment should go a long way towards depoliticizing the investigation".

Comey's testimony was sought from numerous congressional committees after news broke last week that he had written a memo stating President Donald Trump had asked him to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Lindsey Graham, that the special counsel would diminish Congress' investigations, though the leaders of those probes have insisted they will continue along with Mueller's investigation. “By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russias actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia, ” Spicer said.

"By having somebody like Bob Mueller head whatever investigation assures the American people that there's no undue influence, be it here, be it at the other end of Independence Avenue or within the Justice Department or FBI", said Burr, whose committee is conducting its own investigation.

The Justice Department on Friday issued a transcript of Rosenstein's remarks. The details of his comments to the Russians would seem to bolster theories that Trump fired Comey in an effort to choke off the Russia investigation.

He says his memo is not a finding of official misconduct and is not a statement of reasons to justify Comey's firing.

At the same meeting, The Washington Post reported earlier this week, Trump had given the Russians "highly classified information" that "jeopardized a critical source of intelligence" on ISIS that came from a key ally, which, according to later reports, was Israel.

"Director Comey was very unpopular with most people", he said Thursday at a news conference. Trump has denied any collusion and called the case a waste of money and time.

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