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Ex-FBI director Comey back before Congress

AFP  |  Washington 

Former FBI James Comey, sacked by in 2017, began testifying Friday before US lawmakers for the first time in over a year, but this time out of the camera glare.

The closed-door Capitol Hill appearance comes amid turbulence at the White House, and mounting intrigue over Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible contacts between Trump's presidential campaign and

Comey smiled as he walked past reporters towards a House meeting room, telling them "maybe later" he would answer questions.

Trump's bete noire had pleaded for a public hearing after he was subpoenaed by members of the outgoing in November, but House Republicans including some of Trump's allies insisted on a private session before the judiciary and oversight committees.

In May 2017 Trump abruptly sacked Comey, who was the leading a criminal investigation into possible collusion with to influence the US

Three months earlier the met privately with Comey and urged him to end the investigation into former national security

Flynn, who was indicted for lying to investigators, has been cooperating with Mueller's probe.

Mueller is expected to provide court filings Friday related to Trump's jailed former campaign and former and longtime fixer

The has repeatedly blasted Mueller's probe as a "witch hunt," and on Friday unleashed a tirade against Mueller, Comey and several other current and former officials tied to the probe.

"and Leakin' Lyin' are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest," Trump tweeted.

Comey is expected to be questioned as part of a Republican-led House inquiry into possible Russian interference and email use by Hillary Clinton, the Democrat who lost to Trump in the 2016 election.

It will likely be one of the last sessions conducted by the joint judiciary and oversight panel this year. Control of shifts in January to Democrats, who are keen to end or alter the probe.

Comey had resisted answering questions privately, filing a legal challenge to force more transparency.

This week he said an agreement had been struck.

"Will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I'm free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours," he tweeted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2018. 22:25 IST