White House: Trump won't seek to block Comey testimony

Putin dismisses US claims about Trump, Russia and elections

US President Donald Trump will not invoke executive privilege to block former FBI Director James Comey's scheduled testimony before Congress this week, the White House has said.

At the daily White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president wants a "thorough investigation of facts", in reference to Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee this Thursday.

A special counsel is looking into links between Trump's presidential campaign past year and Russians who sought to influence the election by hacking Democrats.

Comey's appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia-related investigation will be his first public testimony since his firing on 9 May. The Justice Department later appointed ex-FBI director Robert Mueller as the special counsel. Senators plan to ask Comey about those memos on Thursday.

He has said Comey assured him he was not personally under investigation, and in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, Trump criticized Comey as an attention seeker. Just days after Trump's inauguration, he invited the director to dinner and, according to people familiar with Comey's account, asked him repeatedly for his loyalty, which Comey declined to give.

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In case you've been avoiding the news for the sake of your fleeting sanity, the president reportedly asked Comey to back off the Russian Federation investigation, Comey supposedly said nyet, the president reportedly called Comey a "nut job" and officially canned him.

In the weeks since, associates of Comey have said the former director felt uncomfortable about efforts by Trump to compromise the bureau's traditional independence.

He reportedly has met with Comey to discuss the probe, and Comey reportedly sought his approval to testify before lawmakers.

Besides Kushner, Cohen and Flynn, the Justice and Congressional investigations are also looking into the Russian Federation ties of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, political consultant Roger Stone, and foreign affairs advisor Carter Page. The White House has denied the president made that request.

The online news outlet said the NSA report depicted a hacking operation tied closely to Moscow's GRU intelligence directorate that targeted private USA companies providing voter registration services and equipment to local governments around the country.

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