James Comey, fired last month as FBI director amid a federal investigation into connections between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, is set to testify next Thursday at a highly anticipated congressional hearing that could shed light on his private conversations with the president in the weeks before his dismissal.
"Going forward, all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel Marc Kasowitz", press secretary Sean Spicer said yesterday when asked about Comey's upcoming testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will happen as early as next week.
Democrats shot back, accusing Trump, a Republican, of diverting attention from the ongoing scandal that has now hangs over his young presidency and criticizing committee Chairman Devin Nunes' subpoenas.
Three others were issued to the FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency seeking information on requests that former Obama administration officials made to unmask the identities of Americans named in intelligence reports.
Trump fired Flynn in February for failing to disclose the content of his talks with Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
Committee aides complained that the chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, who publicly recused himself from leading the Russian Federation probe in April following a secret visit he paid to White House officials, failed to consult Democrats on the subpoenas.
And while the White House is taking steps to insulate itself from the fallout, Trump's counterpunch instincts and addiction to social media promise a battle between two unpredictable titans. "This action would have been taken without the minority's (Democrats') agreement", said a senior committee aide, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied leading efforts to interfere in last year's US election.
Trump drew criticism for removing Comey from his position while Comey was leading an active investigation into Russia's role in the elections as well as possible ties to members of Trump's campaign.
The House panel pursuing its own investigation of the Trump campaign and possible Russian Federation ties has also sought information from Comey, asking the FBI to turn over documents related to his interactions with both the White House and the Justice Department.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation ahead of the presidential election. Also, the U.S. Department of Justice recently appointed a special counsel.
Comey is not expected to testify about the details of the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.
The Trump administration said his handling of the inquiry into defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails was the reason for his dismissal.