The Trump-Russia probe is now investigating a possible cover-up

The open hearing will be held after Memorial Day, North Carolina Sen. The date of the hearing has not yet been set.

Burr says the committee wants to hear from Comey on his role in the development of the US intelligence agencies' assessment that Russian Federation interfered in last year's election. "That's taken off", he said.

Citing unnamed members of Congress who attended a briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, McClatchy reported that a probe into a potential cover-up began after assertions by former FBI Director James Comey allegedly accused President Donald Trump of asking Comey to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings called Trump's reported comment "astonishing and extremely troubling".

The leak to the Times was particularly damaging since only a select group of people could have had access to the information about the May 10 Oval Office meeting with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

It's unclear whether Comey will agree to testify on the House side as well or whether he wants to just get it over with in one appearance.

While the case began quietly last July as an effort to determine whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian operatives to meddle in the presidential election campaign, the investigative work now being done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president.

Mr Comey was sacked by Mr Trump on May 9th.

"Former Department of Justice officials from both political parties have criticized Director Comey's decisions", he said in an opening statement.

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The Times story came as the Washington Post separately reported that the investigation into Russian Federation had led to a person of significant interest who works in the White House right now. Sessions has recused himself from the Trump-Russia probe, citing his close involvement in the Trump campaign previous year.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has also landed on investigators' radar for meeting privately with Sergey Gorkov, the CEO of a Russian state-owned bank, during the transition.

A USA official briefed on the conversation said Trump was using "pressure" he faced from Comey as a negotiating ploy to win diplomatic gains from Lavrov on issues of dispute between Washington and Moscow - namely Syria and Ukraine.

One official had read quotations to the Times and another had confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Friday's report quotes Trump calling ousted FBI Director James Comey "crazy" and "a real nut job".

It says the President then told Russia's foreign minister and ambassador that he "faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians - zero", Mr. Trump told reporters.

The highly anticipated testimony of former FBI Director James Comey was announced by Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) Friday.

Trump had said Thursday he was "very close" to naming a replacement and that former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman was among his top choices.

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