President Donald Trump has questioned the neutrality of the investigator of the Russian interference in last year’s election.
President Trump said Robert Mueller’s friendship with James Comey, who had been heading the inquiry until sacked from his role as FBI chief, was “bothersome”.
Asked on Fox News whether Robert Mueller should step down, Donald Trump said: “We’re going to have to see.”
However, President Trump did call Robert Mueller an “honorable man”.
Robert Mueller was given the role of special counsel by the justice department to lead its investigation into alleged Russian interference after James Comey was sacked on May 9.
Robert Mueller has not given any details of his investigation but US media have reported he is investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice, both in the firing of James Comey and whether Donald Trump tried to end an inquiry into sacked national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Donald Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia, calling it a “witch hunt”.
The president did so again in his interview with Fox & Friends on June 23, saying “there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion.”
He called the accusations of obstruction of justice “ridiculous”.
Asked whether Robert Mueller should recuse himself from the inquiry because of his friendship with James Comey, President Trump said: “Well he’s very, very good friends with Comey which is very bothersome. But he’s also… we’re going to have to see.”
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President Trump also said that “the people that’ve been hired were all Hillary Clinton supporters”.
When Robert Mueller was appointed President Trump was said to be furious, but the special counsel won widespread initial praise from both Republicans and Democrats.
However, lately some influential conservatives have intensified their attacks, openly calling for Robert Mueller’s dismissal.
President Trump advocate Newt Gingrich urged the president to “rethink” Robert Mueller’s position, saying: “Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair.”
The New York Times has reported that President Trump has considered firing Robert Mueller but has so far been talked out of it by aides.
Ten days ago, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “While the president has every right to” fire Robert Mueller “he has no intention to do so”.
On June 23, her colleague Sean Spicer repeated there was “no intention” to dismiss Robert Mueller.
In his Fox interview, President Trump said: “Robert Mueller is an honorable man and hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable conclusion.”
Earlier this month, James Comey testified to Congress that President Trump had pressured him to drop the investigation into Mike Flynn.
Mike Flynn was sacked in February for failing to reveal the extent of his contacts with Russian Ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak.
James Comey testified he was “sure” Robert Mueller was looking at whether Donald Trump had obstructed justice.
According to media, Robert Mueller was also examining whether James Comey’s sacking was an attempt by the president to alter the course of the investigation.
On June 16, Donald Trump sent out a tweet appearing to accept he was under investigation, although later his aides suggested that was not the intention.
On June 22, President Trump also made it clear that he had not made secret recordings of his conversations with James Comey, despite an earlier hint to the contrary.
The president’s tweet came a day before he was required by Congress to hand over any such tapes.
Donald Trump had kick-started speculation of the recordings in a tweet he posted days after firing James Comey, saying: “James Comey better hope there are no <<tapes>> of our conversations.”
Allegations of collusion between the Trump team and Moscow officials during the election have dogged the president’s first five months in office.
Investigators are looking into whether Russian cyber hackers targeted US electoral systems in order to help Donald Trump win – something Moscow has strongly denied.
It was in that context that President Trump sent his tweet, hinting that there were tapes of the conversation.
Appearing before Congress earlier this month, James Comey confirmed he had been asked by the president to “let go” any possible prosecution of Mike Flynn for lying to federal agents about a conversation with the Russian ambassador.
James Comey said he was also asked by the president in no uncertain terms to give assurances that he would be loyal.
When asked whether he thought the conversation had been recorded, James Comey replied: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Robert Mueller is leading an FBI inquiry into Russian meddling in the election.
Donald Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia, describing the ongoing inquiry as a “witch hunt”.
The latest development was first carried in the Washington Post. Later the New York Times and Wall St Journal reported the story, citing their own sources.
The Washington Post said the decision by Robert Mueller to investigate President Trump’s own conduct is a major turning point in the investigation, which until recently focused on the Russian angle.
The latest media reports say the obstruction of justice investigation began just days after Donald Trump fired James Comey on May 9.
James Comey, who had been leading one of several Russia inquiries, testified to Congress last week that President Trump had pressured him to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Mike Flynn was sacked in February for failing to reveal the extent of his contacts with Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak.
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James Comey testified under oath that President Trump had told him during a private meeting: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
The White House has said President Trump “has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn”.
James Comey had testified he was “sure” Robert Mueller was looking at whether Donald Trump had obstructed justice.
However, James Comey also testified that, to his knowledge, President Trump had not tried to stop the Russia investigation.
Meanwhile, the Wall St Journal quoted a source as saying that Robert Mueller would examine whether James Comey’s sacking was an attempt by the president to alter the course of the investigation.
President Trump said he had fired James Comey because of the “Russia thing”.
He reportedly told Russian officials at an Oval Office meeting a day after sacking Director James Comey that his position had now eased.
“I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off,” Donald Trump said, according to a US official quoted by the New York Times.
The latest reports also speak of an investigation into possible money laundering among Trump associates.
A former senior official told the New York Times that any collusion between the Trump team and Russian officials would have involved a pay-off, and that there may have been attempts to hide the route of the payments by using offshore banking.
The three names being mentioned in media are Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, and Richard Ledgett, until recently Admiral Rogers’ deputy.
At a Senate panel last week, Daniel Coats and Mike Rogers declined to answer questions about conversations with the president, but said that they had never felt pressured to interfere in investigations.
The Washington Post says the three have agreed to be interviewed by investigators and the questioning could happen as early as this week.
The three were not involved in the Trump campaign but may be asked whether President Trump sought their help to end the Flynn inquiry.
A separate Washington Post report has said that Daniel Coats told associates in March that the president had asked him to try to get the FBI to back off.
However, the Times points out that the latest questioning does not mean a criminal case is being built against President Trump, simply that information is being gathered by the FBI. It will be passed to prosecutors who will then have to decide.
Jeff Sessions said on June 13: “I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.”
He is the most senior member of the Trump administration to testify before the Senate committee.
Jeff Sessions acknowledged he met Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak twice, but suggested he could not remember whether he met the envoy at a foreign policy speech event for then-candidate Donald Trump at the Mayflower Hotel on April 27, 2016, as media have reported.
The former Alabama senator also denied media reports that he offered his resignation when Donald Trump was reportedly angered by his recusal from the FBI Russia probe, telling the panel he “will not be deterred”.
Vice-Chairman Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, pressed Jeff Sessions about his role in the sacking of James Comey.
Jeff Sessions said he never spoke to the former FBI director, who reports to the US attorney general, about his job performance before President Trump fired him in May.
However, Jeff Sessions did confirm James Comey’s assertion that he told the US attorney general that he felt uncomfortable speaking directly to President Trump in a one-on-one setting.
Several Democratic senators expressed frustration because Jeff Sessions repeatedly refused to answer questions relating to conversations he had with the president.
Similar answers were heard last week during testimony from intelligence chiefs before the same panel.
Former FBI chief James Comey will testify before Congress on June 8.
James Comey is expected to say that President Donald Trump wanted a “patronage relationship” and asked for his “loyalty”.
According to his opening statement, James Comey will also testify the president asked him to drop an inquiry into fired National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
The former FBI chief says President Trump called the Russian probe “a cloud” over him.
James Comey also says he had told Donald Trump three times he was not under scrutiny, confirming the president’s account.
Reacting to the prepared testimony on June 7, President Trump’s private legal counsel on the Russia inquiry, Marc Kasowitz, said the president was “pleased” James Comey had confirmed he was not in investigators’ crosshairs.
“The president feels completely and totally vindicated,” Donald Trump’s lawyer said.
Two national security officials, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, earlier testified to senators that they never felt pressured by the White House to do anything illegal.
However in today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, James Comey will detail how President Trump made him uncomfortable during a series of encounters leading up to the FBI director’s firing on May 9.
It is one of several congressional panels that, along with the Justice Department, is investigating US intelligence assessments that Russian hackers meddled in last November’s presidential election in an effort to help Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.
The inquiries are also investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the alleged Kremlin plot, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
According to seven pages of prepared testimony, James Comey will say his first meeting with President Trump occurred on January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower, where Comey briefed him alone on “salacious and unverified” allegations about him.
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A dossier compiled by a former British intelligence official had claimed the Russian security services possessed compromising material on Donald Trump, including that he had been recorded consorting with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel.
James Comey’s says the president “expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them” during a subsequent meeting.
That denial came in a one-to-one dinner on January 27 at the White House, James Comey will say, adding that he had a “very awkward conversation” with the president that evening.
Donald Trump asked the FBI director during the discussion in the Green Room whether he wanted to stay in his job, James Comey will testify.
He will say he found this “strange” because President Trump had already told him twice in earlier conversations that he hoped he would not step down.
James Comey will testify the question “concerned me greatly” because he felt the dinner was an effort to “create some sort of patronage relationship”.
The former FBI director will say: “A few moments later, the president said, <<I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.>>
“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence.”
In testimony, James Comey will detail his next encounter with President Trump, during a meeting attended by intelligence chiefs at the White House on February 14.
US intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the election in favor of Donald Trump.
In his statement announcing the move, Rod Rosenstein said: “The public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”
Robert Mueller, who will have wide-ranging powers, said simply: “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.”
Just over an hour after the news of Robert Mueller’s appointment emerged, President Trump predicted the new investigation would clear him and his team. Previously, the White House had said there was no need for an outsider to lead an inquiry.
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“A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” said President Trump.
The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said Robert Mueller was “exactly the right kind of individual for this job”.
However, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was more cautious, saying: “A special prosecutor is the first step, but it cannot be the last.
“He cannot take the place of a truly independent, outside commission that is completely free from the Trump administration’s meddling.”
Republican leaders were also restrained.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the appointment “confirms that the investigation… will continue.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan said: “My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead… The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal.”
Normally US prosecutors answer to the attorney general. However, for investigations into high-ranking officials in the executive branch the attorney general – or in this case Rod Rosenstein – can appoint a special counsel with greater independence from the executive.
However, while special counsels are free from day-to-day supervision by the justice department, they must notify the attorney general of any “significant” action and they would need to ask permission to expand the investigation beyond their mandate.
Robert Mueller has the authority to investigate not only links or co-ordination between Russia and Trump campaign officials, but also “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”.
The role should not be confused with that of independent counsel, a role introduced in legislation by Congress after the 1970s Watergate scandal.
Appointed by a three-judge panel, the independent counsel operated outside the jurisdiction of the justice department.
However, after the experiences of the Iran-Contra investigation during the Reagan administration and the inquiry into President Bill Clinton’s Whitewater land deal, the law fell out of favor with both Republicans and Democrats, and Congress failed to renew it in 1999.
President Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced out in February after he misled the vice-president about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador before Donald Trump took office.
The FBI probe and parallel congressional investigations into alleged Russian political meddling, and whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with the Kremlin, have dogged his young presidency.
The search for a new FBI director is beginning on May 13, with four possible candidates being interviewed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
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In yesterday’s daily briefing, Sean Spicer refused to comment on questions about whether President Trump had been making surreptitious recordings in the White House.
Donald Trump tweeted hours earlier that James Comey had “better hope there are no tapes” of their conversations.
Sean Spicer denied the tweet was a threat.
“The president has nothing further to add on that,” he told reporters repeatedly when pressed about the post.
“The tweet speaks for itself.”
However, James Comey believes “if there is a tape, there is nothing he is worried about”, a source told CNN.
Donald Trump’s comments provoked fresh comparisons between his administration and that of disgraced President Richard Nixon, who famously recorded conversations, speeding his downfall during the Watergate scandal.
The top Democrats on the House judiciary and oversight committees wrote to the White House on May 12 demanding copies of any recordings.
John Conyers and Elijah Cummings’ letter noted “it is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay or prevent their official testimony”.
James Comey has declined an invitation to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 16.
President Trump told NBC News that James Comey requested the one-on-one dinner, but the former FBI director reportedly maintains it was the president who invited him.
James Comey had said he was “uneasy” before the dinner, according to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
James Clapper told MSNBC on May 12 that he had spoken to James Comey before the White House meal.
The FBI chief had confided he was concerned it might compromise his Trump-Russia inquiry, said James Clapper.
President Trump has said James Comey told him three times he was not a target of the FBI inquiry, fuelling accusations the president was interfering in the investigation.
Still chafing at media coverage of the firing, President Trump tweeted on May 12: “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future <<press briefings>> and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”
Sean Spicer said the president was a “little dismayed” that his press team’s attempts to give out information were being turned into a “game of gotcha” by the media.
President Trump doubled down in an interview with Fox News by threatening to hold the press briefings only once a fortnight, with himself at the podium.
“Unless I have them every two weeks and I do them myself, we don’t have them,” he said.
“I think it’s a good idea. First of all, you have a level of hostility that’s incredible and it’s very unfair.”
James Comey was leading an inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the last year’s election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.
Donald Trump has dismissed the probe as a “charade”, a claim directly contradicted by James Comey’s successor.
In his first interview since firing the FBI director, President Trump told NBC News on May 11 he had asked James Comey whether he was under investigation.
“I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, <<Am I under investigation?>>. He said: <<You are not under investigation>>.”
“I know I’m not under investigation,” President Trump told the interviewer, repeating a claim he made in May 9 letter of dismissal to James Comey.
Donald Trump said James Comey first told him this at a dinner at the White House, which the FBI chief had requested because “he wanted to stay on” in his post under the new administration.
However, NBC later quoted an unnamed former senior FBI official close to James Comey as saying it was the White House that had requested the dinner, and that Comey would not have told the president he was not under investigation.
“He would say, <<Look sir, I really can’t get into it, and you don’t want me to>>,” the former official was quoted as saying.
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The White House has rejected concerns raised by legal experts that the conversation, as described by President Trump, may have been improper.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she “did not see it as a conflict of interest”.
According to the New York Times, two people who had heard James Comey’s account – apparently of the same dinner – said the former FBI director declined a request to pledge loyalty to President Trump, but said he would be honest with him.
Donald Trump also appeared to undercut the initial White House explanation that he had fired James Comey on the recommendation of top justice officials.
“He’s a showboat. He’s a grandstander. The FBI has been in turmoil. I was going to fire Comey. My decision,” President Trump said.
White House officials had previously pinned the decision on a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which President Trump refers to in the opening paragraph of his termination letter to James Comey, saying: “I have accepted their recommendation.”
However, the president told NBC: “I was going to fire him regardless of the recommendation.”
Donald Trump also denied that he wanted the FBI inquiry on Russia dropped, saying he, instead, wanted it “speeded up”.
“I want to find out if there was a problem with the election having to do with Russia… or any other country, I want that to be so strong and so good, and I want it to happen.”
This is despite what he tweeted on May 8: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”
“There’s no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians,” the president told NBC.
Donald Trump said he had just sent a letter via a law firm to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham stating that he has no stake in Russia.
“I have nothing to do with Russia,” he said.
“I have no investments in Russia. I don’t have property in Russia. I’m not involved with Russia.”
The White House has depicted the Russia inquiry as “probably one of the smallest things” that the FBI has “got going on their plate”.
However, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said on May 11 that it was “a highly significant investigation”.
In testimony to the Senate intelligence committee, Andrew McCabe also cast doubt on White House claims that James Comey had lost the confidence of his staff.
“I can confidently tell you that the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey,” he said.
Andrew McCabe vowed not to update the White House on the status of the investigation and to notify the Senate panel of any attempt to interfere with the inquiry.
Republican committee chairman Richard Burr asked Andrew McCabe if he had ever heard James Comey tell Donald Trump the president was not the subject of investigation.
Andrew McCabe said he could not comment on an ongoing inquiry.
The acting FBI director did not confirm reports that Director Comey had asked for more resources for the agency’s Russia inquiry.
Andrew McCabe said he believed the FBI had sufficient funding to conduct the probe.
The Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in last year’s election has issued a rare formal demand for documents from President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Michael Flynn has failed to voluntarily co-operate with the investigation, the committee says.
The national security adviser was forced to resign in February after failing to disclose the content of his talks with Russian diplomats.
Meanwhile, the fallout continues over the firing of the FBI director.
The White House maintained that James Comey was removed on May 9 for his handling of the inquiry over Hillary Clinton’s emails.
However, senior Democrats said James Comey had recently asked the justice department for more resources for his Trump-Russia investigation.
The Senate Intelligence Committee said it issued a subpoena after Michael Flynn rejected its request on April 28 to submit documents relevant to the investigation.
Michael Flynn, a retired army lieutenant-general, misled the White House about discussing US sanctions against Russia with the country’s envoy, Sergei Kislyak, before President Trump’s inauguration in January.
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His links to Russia are being scrutinized by the FBI and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, as part of wider investigations into claims Moscow sought to tip the election in favor of Donald Trump, and into contacts between Russia and members of the president’s campaign team.
Reaction to James Comey’s firing continued on May 10, with a White House spokeswoman saying that President Trump had been considering sacking the FBI director since he was elected.
Howver, critics accuse President Trump of firing the nation’s top law enforcement official because he was leading the Russian inquiry.
The White House has rejected calls to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin over last year’s election.
The Senate Intelligence Committee invited James Comey to testify next week.
In a farewell letter to staff, James Comey said he would not “spend time on the decision or the way it was executed”.
“I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all,” he wrote.
“It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing,” James Comey added.
“My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”
President Trump stood by his actions, saying James Comey was fired “because he was not doing a good job”.
On May 10, Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Durbin told media that James Comey had asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who wrote the memo on which President Trump says the sacking decision was based – for more resources for the FBI investigation.
Justice department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores called those reports “totally false”.
Either way, Republicans and Democrats vowed the House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ investigations into the Russia claims would continue.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said if President Trump believed replacing James Comey would halt the inquiries “he made a big mistake”.
President Donald Trump has decided to fire FBI Director James Comey over his handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the administration says.
The White House shocked Washington by announcing that James Comey “has been terminated and removed from office”.
However, Democrats said James Comey was fired because the FBI was investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The move came as it emerged James Comey gave inaccurate information about Hillary Clinton’s emails to Congress last week.
James Comey, 56, was addressing FBI agents in Los Angeles when, according to media, he learned he had just been fired when he saw the news on TV.
He reportedly laughed, thinking it was a prank.
James Comey was three-and-a-half years into his 10-year term as FBI director.
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The White House said the search for a successor would begin immediately. It is only the second time the head of the FBI has been fired.
President Trump wrote in a letter to James Comey that he agreed with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recommendation that “you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau”.
Jeff Sessions said the department of justice was “committed to a high level of discipline, integrity, and the rule of law”, and “a fresh start is needed”.
Many have expressed surprise that James Comey should be fired for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for sensitive government business, given that Donald Trump once praised the FBI director’s conduct in the matter.
In the final days of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump told a rally it “took guts” for James Comey to reopen the inquiry.
“What he did brought back his reputation,” Donald Trump said.
However, on May 9, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he “cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgement that he was mistaken”.
“Almost everyone agrees the director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”
Democrats swiftly suggested that President Trump had fired James Comey to influence the FBI inquiry into whether members of the Trump election campaign colluded with Russia.
The House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees are looking into the same allegations.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a news conference on May 9: “Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?
“This does not seem to be a coincidence.”
President Trump responded on Twitter that Chuck Schumer had recently expressed his lack of confidence in the FBI chief.
Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted the Russia allegations are “fake news”.
FBI director James Comey and NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers are set to testify before Congress about possible links between Russia and President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
The two intelligence chiefs will also address Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama.
James Comey and Mike Rogers will give evidence at a rare open hearing of the congressional intelligence committee.
President Trump has called the investigation a “total witch hunt”.
Russia denies attempting to influence the US presidential election.
Two months ago, US intelligence agencies said Kremlin-backed hackers had broken into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing ones in order to help Donald Trump defeat rival Hillary Clinton.
However, Adam Schiff said the material he had seen offers circumstantial evidence that US citizens collaborated with Russians to influence the vote.
He said: “There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception.
“There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”
Two senior officials in the Trump administration have been caught up in the allegations – former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.
Michael Flynn was fired last month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador before he was appointed national security adviser.
He allegedly discussed US sanctions with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions was accused by Democrats of lying under oath during his confirmation hearing in January.
Jeff Sessions said he had “no communications with the Russians”, but it later emerged that he had met Sergei Kislyak during the campaign.
He denied any wrongdoing, but removed himself from an FBI inquiry into Russia’s alleged interference in the election.
March 20 hearing is also expected to address Donald Trump’s claims that the Obama administration wiretapped his phone at Trump Tower in New York during the campaign.
President Trump has provided no evidence, and senior Republican and Democratic officials have dismissed the idea. Barack Obama’s spokesman dismissed the claims.
Devin Nunes told Fox News on March 19 that a review of justice department documents provided on March 17 indicated there was no such wiretap.
Several Republicans have said President Trump should apologize if he cannot substantiate his claims.
Observers say both allegations have diverted attention from the Trump administration’s other policies and progress with political appointments.
Critics say Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama wiretapped him has damaged the US credibility, and relations with its allies.
Last week, President Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer repeated claims by a Fox News analyst that the UK’s GCHQ spy agency had helped Barack Obama wiretap Donald Trump.
The claims angered the UK government, and GCHQ rejected the allegations as “utterly ridiculous”.
Meanwhile, President Trump and some Republicans have called for an investigation into intelligence leaks, including the leak that revealed details of Michael Flynn’s phone calls to the Russian ambassador.
In this case, considering the target is allegedly Trump Tower in New York – which would definitely have involved American citizens – this would have been hard to argue.
James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence under President Obama, has categorically denied a FISA court order existed.
Leading Democrats have called on the White House to produce evidence to support Donald Trump’s claim.
Meanwhile, the White House has called on Congress to investigate whether the Obama administration had abused its powers.
Both Congress and the FBI are currently investigating contacts between the Trump election campaign and Russian officials, after US intelligence agencies assessed that Russia had interfered with the election to help Donald Trump win against his Hillary Clinton.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has blamed her surprise election loss on interventions by the FBI director, James Comey.
James Comey had revived the inquiry into her use of email while secretary of state shortly before Election Day had stopped her campaign’s momentum, Hillary Clinton said.
She was speaking to top party donors in a phone call, which was leaked to the media.
Protests are continuing against Donald Trump’s win.
In New York, about 2,000 marchers headed for the skyscraper where the president-elect lives, shouting “not my president”.
Anti-Trump activists have held daily protests in US cities since his election victory was confirmed on Wednesday.
Donald Trump seems to be rowing back on some of his campaign pledges. Having promised to scrap President Barack Obama’s Affordable Act – ObamaCare – he now says he is open to leaving intact key parts of the act.
The Republican is due to be sworn in on January 20, taking over from President Obama, who will have completed two terms in office.
Hillary Clinton, who served as Barack Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, has been keeping a low profile since conceding victory.
On October 28, James Comey informed Congress that the FBI was examining newly discovered emails sent or received by Hillary Clinton, thus reviving an investigation which had been completed in July.
Then, on November 6, two days before the election, James Comey announced in a second letter that he was standing by his original assessment – that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges.
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Hillary Clinton told the donors on a farewell conference call on November 12.
“But our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum. We dropped, and we had to keep really pushing ahead to regain our advantage.”
Hillary Clinton added that James Comey’s later recommendation that she should face no charges had energized Donald Trump’s supporters.
Her campaign team said that despite Hillary Clinton being cleared of criminal behavior, the move only revived Donald Trump’s claim that the Democratic candidate was being protected by a rigged system.
Hillary Clinton’s camp has blasted FBI Director James Comey for “blatant double standards” over the new inquiry into the Democratic candidate’s email use.
The comments came after media reports that James Comey had urged against publicly accusing Russia of interfering in the US election, including alleged email hacking.
James Comey’s concern about releasing the information was due to the proximity to the election, reports say.
The statement that James Comey reportedly declined to sign off on was released by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on October 7.
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It said: “The US intelligence community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations… these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.”
James Comey agreed with the statement but was against making it public before the election, according to media.
There have been allegations that Russian hackers have targeted the Democrats in an effort to skew the election in favor of Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook said: “It is impossible to view this as anything less than a blatant double standard.”
He also called on James Comey to “immediately explain this incongruence and apply the same standard to Donald Trump’s associates as he has applied to Hillary Clinton’s.”
James Comey has faced a fierce backlash for announcing on October 28, just 11 days before the presidential election, that the FBI is investigating new emails that may be linked to its probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In March 2015, it emerged that Hillary Clinton had been breaking federal rules by operating a private email server while she was secretary of state from 2009-2013.
Hillary Clinton’s lawyers combed through the server and provided the State Department with 30,000 work-related emails, but her campaign deleted another 33,000 messages, saying they were personal in nature.
James Comey concluded in July that Hillary Clinton had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information, but there were no grounds for any charges.
Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, says FBI director James Comey may have broken the law by revealing the bureau was investigating emails possibly linked to Hillary Clinton.
He accused James Comey of violating an act which bars officials from influencing an election.
News of the FBI inquiry comes less than two weeks before the Election Day.
The FBI has meanwhile obtained a warrant to search a cache of emails belonging to Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide.
Emails from Huma Abedin are believed to have been found on the laptop of her estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner.
There are reportedly 650,000 emails to search through, making it unlikely investigators can give a verdict on them before election day.
The FBI believes the emails might be “pertinent” to its previous inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server when she was secretary of state in the Obama administration.
The case was closed in July without any charges being brought against Hillary Clinton.
Anthony Weiner is subject to a separate investigation on suspicion of sending explicit messages to an underage girl.
Harry Reid accused James Comey of practicing double standards with the intention of helping one political party over another.
In a letter, Harry Reid said James Comey may have violated the Hatch Act, which bars officials from using their position to influence an election.
“Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law,” he said.
Harry Reid also accused James Comey of withholding “explosive information about close ties between [Republican candidate] Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government”.
“The public has a right to know about this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public,” Harry Reid said.
Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, revealed on October 30 he had filed a complaint against the FBI with the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates Hatch Act violations.
Writing in the New York Times he said: “I never thought that the FBI could be dragged into a political circus surrounding one of its investigations. Until this week.”
Opinion polls showed Hillary Clinton’s lead against Donald Trump tightening even before the email controversy surfaced again.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll published on October 30 put Hillary Clinton just one percentage point ahead.
Hillary Clinton has described James Comey’s actions as “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling”.
However, Donald Trump has praised the FBI’s decision, accusing the Department of Justice of protecting Hillary Clinton in a “rigged system”.
“The Department of Justice is trying their hardest to protect the criminal activity of Hillary Clinton,” Donald Trump told a rally in Nevada.
It emerged on October 30 that the Department of Justice had urged the FBI not to inform Congress of the new inquiry so close to the election.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign team has condemned the FBI’s decision to brief lawmakers on a new inquiry into the Democratic candidate’s email use.
On October 28, FBI Director James Comey informed Congress of the move in a letter, 11 days before the election.
Hillary Clinton told supporters the move was “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling”.
However, Donald Trump has praised the FBI’s decision.
In his letter to Congress, James Comey said the FBI had learned of fresh emails which might be “pertinent” to its previous inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server when she was secretary of state in the Obama administration.
James Comey has defended the move, insisting that not making it public would be “misleading” and also risked being “misunderstood”, given that the FBI does not know the significance of the newly found emails.
Speaking to supporters in Florida on October 29, Hillary Clinton said: “It’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented. And it is deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts.
“So we’ve called on Director Comey to explain everything right away, put it all out on the table.”
Hillary Clinton has said she is confident the investigation into the emails will not change the FBI’s original finding in July, which criticized her but cleared her of any illegal acts.
James Comey has been heavily criticized by Clinton supporters – and according to the New York Times, justice department officials – for his decision to make the information public so close to polling day.
In a memo, James Comey acknowledged “we do not ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations”. But he said he felt an “obligation” to do so given that he had previously testified that the FBI investigation was complete.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta said the information provided by James Comey was “long on innuendo” and “short on facts”.
There was, he said, “no evidence of wrongdoing. No charge of wrongdoing. No indication this is even about Hillary”.
Donald Trump meanwhile has said the issue is the biggest political scandal in the US since Watergate, which brought down President Richard Nixon.
At a rally in Colorado on October 29, the Republican candidate said: “Her criminal action was willful, deliberate, intentional and purposeful.
“Hillary set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her illegal actions from public disclosure and exposure.”
The FBI has already established that Hillary Clinton had held classified information on a private email server.
In July, James Comey said Hillary Clinton’s handling of sensitive material during her tenure as secretary of state was “extremely careless”, but cleared her of any criminal wrongdoing.
The latest emails were discovered as part of a separate investigation into the estranged husband of top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.
Devices belonging to Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner, a former high-flying congressman, were seized in an investigation into whether he sent explicit emails to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.
Investigators are reviewing the documents to see if they contain classified information.
Hillary Clinton’s private email server was first revealed in March 2015 by the New York Times.
She did not immediately express regret, and said the main reason for her “email@example.com” address was “convenience”.
Soon after that Hillary Clinton apologized in an interview with ABC News, and has since said sorry to voters a number of times.
US Ambassador to Poland Stephen Mull has been summoned over Holocaust comments made by FBI director James Comey.
Poland’s foreign ministry said James Comey had suggested in a Washington Post article that some Poles were accomplices.
After the summons, Stephen Mull said he made it clear the US believed “Nazi Germany alone” was responsible.
Six million Polish citizens were killed by the Nazis during World War Two, half of them Jewish.
In the Washington Post article on April 16, aimed at raising education about the Holocaust, James Comey wrote: “In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil.
“They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.”
The words sparked a storm of protest in Poland.
Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski told Polish television the comments were an “insult to thousands of Poles who helped Jews”.
PM Ewa Kopacz said: “To those who are incapable of presenting the historic truth in an honest way, I want to say that Poland was not a perpetrator but a victim of World War Two. I would expect full historical knowledge from officials who speak on the matter.”
Ambassador Stephen Mull, who on April 19 attended ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis, said that any suggestion that “Poland, or any other countries other than Nazi Germany, bear responsibility for the Holocaust, is a mistake, harmful and insulting”.
After the summons, Stephen Mull said: “I made clear that the opinion that Poland is in any way responsible for the Holocaust is not the position of the United States.
“Nazi Germany alone bears responsibility. I now have a lot of work before me to make things right in this situation.”
However, Stephen Mull also said he believed the wider message of the article was that many people had either aided the Nazis or not done enough in response to the atrocities, including in the US.
The Washington Post on April 19 published a column criticizing James Comey’s comments.
FBI director James Comey says the bureau is confident that North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures cyber-attack last year because the hackers “got sloppy”.
James Comey said the group posted material from servers used exclusively by the North Koreans.
November’s attack on Sony Pictures saw the leak of sensitive documents, and film The Interview briefly shelved.
Cyber security experts have been skeptical about the FBI’s assertion North Korea was to blame.
Sony’s decision to temporarily cancel The Interview‘s release was described by President Barack Obama as “a mistake”. Sony later released the film in independent cinemas and also distributed it online.
The Interview‘s plot revolves around a plan to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pyongyang has denied being behind the cyber-attack, but described it as a “righteous deed”.
In retaliation, the US has placed sanctions on three North Korean organizations and 10 individuals.
The sanctions are believed to be the first time the US has moved to punish any country for cyber-attacks on a US company.
James Comey had been addressing delegates at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York.
He said there was evidence the hackers had used proxy servers in an attempt to disguise the attack’s origins, but sometimes neglected to do so, revealing, the FBI believes, the true location.
However, experts remain unconvinced that the US has proved its case.
“To be frank, director Comey has not revealed anything new,” said Brian Honan, a security researcher.
“Various IP addresses have been associated with this attack, from a hotel in Taiwan to IP addresses in Japan.
“Any IP address connected to the internet can be compromised and used by attackers.”