Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Former FBI Chief James Comey to Testify Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Ryan said of the special counsel appointment of Robert Mueller was consistent with his goal of ensuring that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 'frustratingly cautious' in briefing House members
Rickey Rodriguez | 05 June, 2017, 07:02

White House hopes that Donald Trump could leave scandalous allegations at home were crushed in a one-two punch of revelations that landed shortly after his departure.

The report cites unnamed "people" familiar with the matter as saying that the person of interest is someone "close to the president", adding that the investigation has entered a more active phase and will likely accelerate in the coming weeks.

The investigation grew with the firing of the FBI director, according to lawmakers.

That explanation was contradicted by the president himself, who told NBC News last week that he chose to fire Comey "regardless" of the memo.

The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and who exactly made the decision.

Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee after Memorial Day, the panel's leaders announced Friday.

The developments were a blow to White House efforts to tamp down interest in the Russian Federation investigation as Trump and his staff boarded Air Force One for Saudi Arabia, first stop on his first foreign trip as president.

Mr Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting.

The new headlines were a fresh indication that Trump would not be able to change the subject from what appears to be an intensifying investigation reaching toward the president and his inner circle.

"As the president has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity", said spokesman Sean Spicer.

Trump had ignited political firestorm the previous week when he fired Comey, who was running the investigation.

The Times report on Friday afternoon is just the latest bombshell story over the past week and adds to mounting headaches for the White House just as Trump has departed for his first foreign trip as president. His role in the probe came to a screeching halt when Trump fired him 10 days ago - though a paper trail of memos he left behind has suggested the administration's attempts to derail the investigation. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarizing the meeting and read to it by a USA official.

President Donald Trump declared himself the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in American political history and slapped down accusations he tried to quash a probe into collusion between his campaign team and Russian Federation. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations." said Spicer.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the memo the president initially cited as justification for firing FBI Director James Comey.

Rosenstein's briefing also comes after the decision he made earlier this week to appoint Mueller to be special counsel in the Justice Department's probe of Russian meddling in the USA election and any possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's presidential campaign a year ago. Officials said it had nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation.

The Times said the document was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah announced a hearing next week for Comey to testify, but he did so before he had even made contact with Comey.

The Justice Department on Friday issued a transcript of Rosenstein's remarks.

Trump has said he plans to nominate a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director soon, but there was no announcement Friday.

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

He reiterated that he felt Comey was "profoundly wrong and unfair" to both Clinton and the Justice Department in a July 2016 news conference about the investigation.

And today new questions about what Vice President Mike Pence knew as head of Trump's transition team.

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