White House aide says Russia probe 'detracts' from agenda

Richard Burr James Comey'looking forward to testifying

"I think everybody's who's watching intently on Thursday will be making credibility assessments".

Eric Beach, head of Great America Alliance, said no one from the White House asked his group to do the ad.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas was more clear on his: "Washington is starved for budget reform", he said, adding Republican lawmakers have a variety of ideas for how to accomplish that and he would "love to see that considered as we go forward".

The White House is hoping to kick-start its stalled legislative agenda with congressional action on healthcare reform this summer that will clear the way for lawmakers to begin work on a major tax bill after the September 4 Labor Day holiday, an administration official said on Monday.

Trump fired Comey days later.

His appearance will mark Comey's first public comments since he was abruptly fired by the president last month.

However, Comey has told associates he will not corroborate Trump's claim that on three separate occasions Comey told the president he was not under investigation as part of the probe into Russian meddling in the USA election, a source familiar the former director's thinking told ABC News.

Comey is scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee beginning at 10 a.m. that day.

"No. No. Next question", Trump responded to the reporter.

"They've talked, and I understand the special counsel has not fenced him off in any way, shape or form on the items he intends to talk about", Burr said.

At the Republican National Committee - which has been under pressure from the White House to step up its defense of the president - officials are assembling a rapid response team to counter Comey's testimony and sending messaging memos to surrogates who plan to support the president on television.

Press secretary Sean Spicer did not say whether Trump would watch Comey's testimony live, says he is going to have a "very busy day".

Just before the meeting began, the White House sent a veiled message toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The Republican leader told reporters he remains sour on the president's use of Twitter, which in recent days has suggested Qatar - a USA ally - is a state-sponsor of terrorism and slammed his own Justice Department. "And it turned out pretty well for him then".

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