Republicans wage effort to tarnish Comey ahead of Senate testimony

The heads of the United States intelligence agencies (L-R) Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"My hope will be that Admiral Rogers and Director Coats won't try to hide behind executive privilege. about the press reports about the president asking them to downplay the Russian Federation investigation", Warner said.

Trump told Comey on February 14, the day after Trump fired Flynn, that "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go", referring to the FBI's Flynn investigation, according to an associate of Comey who has read the memo the FBI director wrote after the meeting.

"I wish him luck", Trump told reporters as he met with Republican congressional leaders.

Comey has retained a lawyer, the source said, but added that the arrangement was just a precaution, as Comey did not feel vulnerable to any legal jeopardy related to his testimony. And what he says could lead to significant ramifications for the president, with possibly more calls for impeachment or more accusations that he broke the law.

Several key players are testifying before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, including National Intelligence Director Dan Coats.

Trump dismissed Comey from the post of FBI director May 9 over his handling of the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email scandal.

Sources have told ABC that Trump only learned about the Attorney General's decision to recuse himself minutes before the announcement was publicly made, and the President has remained "fixated" on this "disappointment".

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The new revelation about Comey's uneasiness with Trump brings to mind a posting last month by Comey friend Benjamin Wittes on his Lawfare blog, in which he said Comey "saw it as an ongoing task on his part to protect the rest of the Bureau from improper contacts and interferences from a group of people he did not regard as honorable". Reports have emerged since that Trump sought to pressure Comey to drop his scrutiny of aide Michael Flynn's ties to Russian Federation, a charge Trump has denied.

Comey did, however, have an uneasy feeling about President Trump, friends said.

The nation's top intelligence official told associates in March that President Donald Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russian Federation probe, according to officials.

A spokesman for the Department Of Justice said Sessions is not stepping down.

USA surveillance practices have come under increased scrutiny amid unsubstantiated assertions by Trump and other Republicans that the White House under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, improperly spied on Trump or his associates.

Comey was given the go-ahead to deliver potentially explosive testimony after the White House announced it would not use its executive privilege to block his appearance, less than a month after he was controversially sacked by the president. In a tweet days after the firing, he appeared to warn Comey that he might have recordings of their private discussions, something the White House has neither confirmed nor denied.

The RNC has already booked White House surrogates on local and national TV and radio programs and begun placing op-eds, and on Thursday will spearhead rapid response efforts to response to Comey's testimony.

  • Adam Floyd