Published: Wed, June 07, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US Senators To Press Security Chiefs On Russia Probe

US Senators To Press Security Chiefs On Russia Probe

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.

The other key issues Comey will address are clear, a source adds - the allegation that Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him shortly after he took office, and the President's request to ease up on the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the FBI probe into possible collusion with Russian Federation by Trump associates.

The request made Comey uncomfortable, but the source tells ABC News that Comey has told associates he will not accuse the president of obstructing justice.

A person familiar with the situation says Comey asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to keep him from being alone with President Donald Trump.

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It was not immediately clear when the conversation occurred. Sources say the parameters set by the two men - who are friends and former colleagues at the Justice Department - were aimed at avoiding the possibility that Comey's testimony could taint any criminal case that Mueller might ultimately bring. He said Sessions "doesn't believe it's appropriate to respond to media inquiries on matters that may be related to ongoing investigations".

Trump was asked directly at a press conference last month if he had "in any way, shape or form" asked Comey to "back down the investigation into Michael Flynn", and he strongly denied it.

Great America Alliance has paid for the ad, which is slated to run digitally Wednesday and appear the next day on CNN and Fox News. An RNC research email Monday issued a challenge to the lawmakers who will question Comey.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on June 7 is expected to include testimony from acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Comey also told associates the president had tried to get him to pledge "loyalty" on multiple occasions this year, a pledge the Federal Bureau of Investigation director declined to make.

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Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9 and has yet to nominate a replacement.

The back-to-back hearings come as the White House grapples with the fallout from Comey's firing, which led to the appointment of a special counsel to take over the Russian Federation investigation in an effort to prevent even the appearance of Oval Office interference. He told lawmakers that despite Trump's claim, "It certainly wasn't our intention to say that today, because we don't have any information on that subject and that's not something that was looked at".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the president would have a "very, very busy day" on Thursday. However, that effort has largely stalled, both because of a lack of decision-making in the West Wing and concerns among some potential recruits about joining a White House under the cloud of investigation. We need to start fighting back.

"I am not prepared to go down that road right now", Coats said.

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Reporters and congressional aides still recall, from memory, exact passages from Comey's 2007 congressional testimony about racing up the steps of a hospital to interdict George W. Bush White House officials seeking to bypass him in a surveillance dispute and get to the ailing attorney general, John Ashcroft. Comey said he replied that he wanted to serve out his 10-year term and "was not on anybody's side politically".

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