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Comey to testify before Senate committee on Russian Federation probe
20 May 2017, 03:02 | Darnell Patrick
Former FBI Director James Comey, who was sacked by U.S. President Donald Trump last week amid an agency probe into alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election, has agreed to testify before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing, the committee said in a statement on Friday.
The development will be seen to support the allegation that Mr Trump fired him because of the FBI's investigation into collusion between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives.
This news after reports Friday in the New York Times and the Washington Post about the fallout from Trump's firing of Comey, as well as the inquiry into Russia's role in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Democratic Sen.
The committee's chairman, Sen.
The reports, emerging just as Trump jetted off to Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip as president, were likely to extend the turmoil engulfing his administration since the May 9 firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
The Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the matter, did not identify the senior Trump adviser, except to say that the person of interest was close to Trump.
"I hope that former Director Comey's testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President", the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, said in a statement on Friday. "I also expect Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election". But he made clear it was not his intention for Trump or other White House officials to use the document to justify firing Comey, which is what they have done.
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Flynn discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation with Russia's ambassador to the United States during the month before President Donald Trump took office, and he withheld that fact from even Vice President Mike Pence. The White House has given different versions of the reasons for the dismissal. It says the president then told Russia's foreign minister and ambassador that he "faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".
Trump, who has embraced what he describes as an "America First" approach to US foreign policy and global trade, is expected to be welcomed warmly by leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The White House has disputed Comey's account of his February conversation with Trump concerning Flynn but has not offered specifics.
Trump met with the Russians on May 10, the day after he fired Comey.
The White House originally pointed to a recommendation from acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein criticizing Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server as the impetus for his firing. He had been in contact with former Trump adviser Carter Page, though Page has said he shared only "basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents" with the Russian.
Russian Federation has denied United States intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Mr Trump's favour. "That's taken off, '" Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said on Twitter.
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Pending that, however, the United States should not wait, - it should lead, refusing to let its actions be dictated by terrorists. This message, however, needs to be made loud and clear to our Palestinian neighbors.
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