A day before former FBI Director James Comey's high-profile hearing, senators plan to question senior intelligence officials about Trump's controversies and the Russian Federation investigation at a hearing that is supposed to be about re-authorizing a key section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats told his colleagues that Trump cornered him after a meeting in March and asked him to intervene in the case, sources told The Washington Post.
Comey's testimony comes less than a month after Trump abruptly fired him, a move that the White House initially attributed to Comey's handling of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email system past year.
"It took a lot of guts", Trump said.
On Thursday, Comey will get a chance to fill in some of the blanks with his own account.
But Winner's alleged leaking of the report is bound to give committee Republicans a stronger foothold to ask questions than the hearing topic or any of Trump's tweets.
Democrats have accused Trump of firing Comey to upend the FBI's Russian Federation probe, which focused in large part on whether campaign aides coordinated with Moscow to hack Democratic groups during the election.
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Comey met privately twice with Barack Obama, suggesting that he was far less comfortable with Trump than with the previous president.
In a letter informing him of his firing, Trump writes that Comey informed him "on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation". And since Trump approaches social media with all the subtlety of a wrecking ball hitting an orphanage on Christmas Eve, it's likely that should Comey slate him in any way, he'll unleash a wave of vitriol on Twitter.
"Absolutely", Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIntel hearing becomes curtain-raiser for Comey Senate panel approves controversial Interior nominee Bring real consumer choice back to Medicare Part D MORE (D-W.Va.) said when asked if the focus would be Trump and Russian Federation, not the surveillance law.
White House officials had considered trying to invoke the President's executive privilege authority to block the testimony, but they said on Monday that they would not do so.
The Washington Post reported on May 22 that Trump had asked the officials to help push back against the FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Moscow, citing current and former officials. 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. Upon learning the White House counsel and chief of staff were looking to get approval from the barely conscious Ashcroft, Comey had his security detail redirect him to the hospital so he could intercept them.
Brian P Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), said in a statement: 'Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President.
"If I'm called before an investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don't know", Coats said on May 23.