Two new reports add to a turbulent week in Washington politics. Former FBI Director, James Comey, has now agreed to testify at a public Senate hearing. While, according to the New York Times, the U.S. President gloated about firing Comey to Russian officials.
His ouster is linked to investigations of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Moscow. CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes takes us back through the controversy.
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Ousted FBI Director Comey agrees to testify in open Senate hearingTwo new reports add to a turbulent week in Washington politics. Former FBI Director, James Comey, has now agreed to testify at a public Senate hearing. While, according to the New York Times, the U.S. President gloated about firing Comey to Russian officials. His ouster is linked to investigations of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Moscow. CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes takes us back through the controversy.
The latest series of events began on May 9th when Donald Trump announced that he was firing FBI Director James Comey, responsible for the investigation into possible interference in the U.S. elections by Russia and whether there was collusion with members of the Trump team.
Trump met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov where he shared sensitive intelligence about ISIL.
According to a section of transcript notes of that meeting shared with the New York Times, Donald Trump told the men that “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job” and that “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off” and “I’m not under investigation.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has not denied that this represents an accurate account of a part of that meeting. Instead, Spicer issued a statement saying, “By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia.”
This week, the former FBI Director Robert Mueller was assigned to oversee the investigation as Special Counsel. Many commentators thought that the appointment of Mueller, widely respected among both Democrats and Republicans, would lead to a quieting down of the story at least temporarily.
Special counsels have played an important role important role in keeping checks on the government, investigating cases including the Whisky Ring, Teapot Dome, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Monica Lewinsky scandals. Here’s more about special counsels and what they are tasked to do.
But as the FBI continues its probe without a new director yet appointed, the Washington Post is reporting that a senior White House adviser, someone close to the President, has become a ‘significant person of interest’ in the investigation, though that does not necessary imply that criminal charges are near.
The Justice Department could not confirm or deny the veracity of that report. Meanwhile, a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted earlier in the week showed the president’s approval ratings have fallen to their lowest level for that nationwide poll since the President took office, at just 38 percent.