Thursday, 13 December, 2018

US President Donald Trump meets two candidates for Federal Bureau of Investigation chief

Francis Olson | 01 June, 2017, 19:29

CNN reported Wednesday that Comey had agreed to testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as next week. The source also said Comey is expected to confirm the accusations that Trump asked him to end the FBI's investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"I hope you can let this go", Trump asked him, according to notes Comey wrote after the meeting that he shared with other Federal Bureau of Investigation officials.

The investigative mandate of newly-appointed special counsel Robert Mueller goes beyond probing for 2016 Trump-Russia collusion and charges Mueller with investigating "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation", language that observers believe would include efforts to obstruct justice. Trump fired Comey as FBI director a few weeks ago, drawing criticism from Democrats and Republicans since the FBI is in the middle of an investigation into Russian Federation meddling in the US election and whether Trump's campaign helped.

The Senate panel also plans to hear at some point from Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and one of his closest White House aides.

The interviews mark a re-start of sorts for the search to find someone to replace Comey, who Trump fired on May 9. Meanwhile, the embattled White House is scrambling to do damage control, creating a new rapid-fire communications unit to respond to the tidal wave of scandal and controversy engulfing the new Presidency.

Police arrest another suspect in Manchester terror probe
On Monday (May 22) a suicide bomber took the lives of 22 people who attended a sold out Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. Britain's home secretary criticised USA officials for leaking sensitive information about the ongoing inquiry into the bombing.

Comey defended his choice to inform Congress of the investigation's reopening by saying that concealing it would have been "catastrophic", adding that the idea he may have swayed the election for Donald Trump makes him "mildly nauseous", according to the Associated Press.

We tried our best to get inside Comey's head and run down the pros and cons of sharing what he knows with Congress in a way that could set Comey up for a major showdown with the president. While the White House initially asserted that Comey was sacked following a recommendation by deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, Trump swiftly clarified that it was purely his decision.

Although final details about Comey's testimony have not been worked out, a source told CNN it could come as early as the start of June. Mueller's separate probe could conceivably look at the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing. But the president himself confused that message, telling NBC he thought of the "made-up" story about ties between his campaign and Russia when he fired Comey, and telling Russian diplomats firing that "nut job" Comey relieved great pressure on him from the Russia probe. According to Lichtblau, Comey and Bob Mueller have been discussing the parameters that would govern what he can and cannot say during his testimony, in order to not interfere with any ongoing criminal investigations with the public testimony.

When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked Wednesday about Comey's upcoming testimony, he declined to answer and said he was referring all media questions on the matter to President Donald Trump's outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz. The news of the timing of Comey's testimony was first reported by CNN.

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