Announcement on Federal Bureau of Investigation director not for now: White House

May 20, 2017, 15:06

U.S. President Donald Trump was hit on Friday by embarrassing leaks that a senior adviser was a "person of interest" in a probe of possible collusion with Russia during last year's election campaign and that Trump had boasted to Russian officials of firing the man heading the investigation.

Trump met with the Russians on May 10, the day after he fired Comey.

The Russian government is accused by USA intelligence of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump's favor.

On a day the administration hoped that Trump could leave scandalous allegations at home as he began his first trip overseas as president, the development was unwelcome at the White House.

Trump, accompanied by wife Melania, walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday. Trump has denied any collusion and called the case a waste of money and time.

In their announcement Friday, Burr and Warner announced that Comey would testify in open session, and that they would schedule that session after the Memorial Day break.

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While White House staffers solidified the details of Trump's first foreign trip, sensitive information apparently poured out of the administration like a sieve to major United States news outlets regarding the president's handling of the former FBI director and the ongoing law enforcement investigation into his campaign.

President Donald Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey, had relieved "great pressure" on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to the Times. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

In a statement Friday evening, the Republican chairman and top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Comey has agreed to publicly testify in front of the panel about his role in the Russian Federation investigation.

The president's move came days after Comey testified in Capitol Hill about the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling into the U.S. elections and a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Pelosi said that Trump has left himself "very vulnerable personally" if he in fact asked Comey to end an investigation of adviser Michael Flynn.

"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.

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Spicer said of the former FBI director: "by grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation".

While speaking with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Trump reportedly said, "I faced great pressure because of Russia".

"Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations", he added.

FILE- In this March 7, 2017, file photo, then-Deputy Attorney General-designate Rod Rosenstein, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She said it's a "ridiculous statement" for Trump to make and results in "elevating the Russians as his confidante at the expense of our justice system".

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