Former FBI chief James Comey to testify in Russian probe

Published: 20 May 2017 Image credit: Reuters

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Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing about an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential Election.

Mr Comey, who was fired from his position by US President Donald Trump earlier this month, is expected to answer questions about encounters and meetings leading up to his termination.

It’s believed he will be asked specifically about occasions where Trump reportedly asked for his loyalty and asked for him to shut down an investigation into former national security Michael Flynn.

The public hearing is scheduled to take place after May 29th.

Mr Comey’s decision comes as the New York Times reports President Trump told Russian officials at the White House that firing Mr Comey relieved ‘great pressure.’
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said, according to official documents cited by the New York Times.

“I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

The Times said the official documents were based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office on May 10 – the day after Comey was fired.

The White House did not deny the New York Times’ report, but instead blamed Comey for putting ‘unnecessary pressure’ on diplomacy between the US and Russia.

“The President has always emphasised the importance of making deals with Russia as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people,” press secretary Sean Spicer said.

“By grandstanding and politicising the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia.”

While FBI Director James Comey was heading an investigation into Russian influence in the lead up and during the 2016 US Presidential election, including possible coordination between associates of Trump and Russian officials.