Cautious Comey expected in United States hearing on Donald Trump-Russia probes

Lauren Perry
June 7, 2017

With outside groups already rushing to try to control the narrative on Mr. Comey's first public comments on his firing, Republican lawmakers will likely challenge his credibility while Democrats will push the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director to detail Mr. Trump's private conversations, including the president's claims that Mr. Comey repeatedly told him he was not a target of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russian hacking charges.

The White House and its allies are scrambling for ways to offset potential damage from fired FBI Director James Comey's highly anticipated congressional testimony, an appearance that could expose new details about his discussions with President Donald Trump about the federal investigation into Russia's election meddling.

A new chapter is about to be opened in the up-and-down relationship between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey.

White House officials had been discussing the possibility of hiring former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to spearhead an internal "war room" to battle the various controversies emanating from a Justice Department probe into contacts between Trump aides and Russian Federation. Rosenstein's public testimony will be the first since he appointed - in the face of rising pressure from Congress - former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating possible links between Russian Federation and the election. According to officials, Comey was anxious Trump would try to undermine the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the president's 2016 campaign and Russian operatives trying to influence the USA election.

Trump's alleged request of Comey came in a private Oval Office meeting on February 14, the day after he fired Flynn after it was revealed that Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others in the administration about the nature of his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

The White House denied the memo's version of events last month, telling reporters, "this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey".

"He is not going to Congress to make accusations about the president's intent, instead he's there to share his concerns", the source said, and tell the committee "what made him uneasy" and why he felt a need to write the memo documenting the conversation.

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The White House backed away from the idea of naming Feinberg after Coats and members of the intelligence community and Congress raised objections.

Sessions did not guarantee Comey that the president would refrain from requesting more private meetings, the Times reported.

"If he has the view that he can talk about specific things he wants to talk about and can't talk about exactly similar things that he doesn't want to talk about, I think that'll be a big problem with me - and with the committee", said Sen.

White House officials and the President's allies on the outside have begun crafting a plan to counter the Thursday testimony, but those efforts so far appear jumbled.

Sources close to Comey also said that Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him during that dinner.

Trump fired Comey on May 9, a step that stunned Washington and intensified scrutiny of the matter.

Despite the mounting legal questions now shadowing the White House, Trump has needled Comey publicly.

Other reports by VgToday

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