White House looks for ways to undermine Comey's credibility

Senators specifically want to know if Trump sought a pledge of loyalty from Comey early on - and if Comey was pressured to go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was sacked for misleading Trump administration officials about meetings he had had with Russia's ambassador the U.S.

Comey certainly did not hold back in the claims he made during the Clinton campaign, and based on that we would not be surprised if he makes the same kind of bold statements tomorrow. An RNC research email Monday issued a challenge to the lawmakers who will question Comey.

But, under questioning from the intelligence committee's Democratic vice-chairman, Coats refused to reveal details about his conversations with Trump.

Broken down by party lines, 88 percent of Democrats say Trump fired Comey "to protect himself", while 22 percent of Republicans agree. He has several commitments during Comey's testimony, including a summit on his infrastructure plan in the morning, and a noontime address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, but he's expected to have his phone with him.

Comey friend Benjamin Wittes would later explain that Comey had tried to "blend into the background" to avoid a one-on-one interaction with Trump and wanted to avoid "any show of warmth".

President Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey amid a federal investigation into collusion with Russian Federation has raised suspicions among a majority of Americans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Current and former law enforcement officials said that when the investigation was handed over last month to a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Trump was not a target.

Despite the mounting legal questions now shadowing the White House, Trump has needled Comey publicly. Comey appears before the same committee on Thursday.

"It took a lot of guts", Trump said.

"The president's got a full day on Thursday", Spicer said. "I wish him luck", Trump told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday of the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director's looming testimony.

The Trump administration scored a victory this week when it arrested a 25-year-old NSA contractor, Reality Winner, and charged her with espionage for allegedly leaking an NSA report showing Russian interference in the election. 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.

"If there isn't a strategy, a coherent, effective one, this is really going to put us all behind the eight ball".

Trump praises Comey: "I respect the fact that Director Comey was able to come back after what he did".

"I think those [conversations] fall within the scope of issues investigated by the special counsel and it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on those today", he replied when pressed further.

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