Putin offers transcript to prove Trump did not pass Russia secrets

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FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017 about President's Trump wiretapping claims and Trump's presidential campaign links to Russian hackers.

But Comey did meet for a dinner January 27 at the behest of the President, where sources said Trump asked if he was under investigation and sought a pledge of loyalty.

Next Wednesday is the same day that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is set to send relevant documents to the oversight panel. Congressional investigators have been seeking Comey's memos on his meeting with Trump, as well as documents from the Justice Department related to his firing.

Complaining about what he said were signs of "political schizophrenia" in the United States, Putin said Trump was not being allowed to do his job properly.

Defending Trump's actions, officials played down the importance and secrecy of the information, which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself said he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation.

Flynn was forced to resign one day before the conversation between Comey and Trump, after it was revealed that Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about connections he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Comey had several one-one-one meetings and phone discussions with Trump.

National Security Adviser HR McMaster said the president's comments were "wholly appropriate".

The Republican-led House oversight committee said Wednesday it plans to invite fired FBI Director James Comey to a May 24 hearing, amid questions on whether President Trump tried to interfere with the FBI investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 race.

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"I believe Mueller will be independent, he will be thorough and he will be fair and he's not going to be easily swayed", said Elijah Cummings of Maryland, top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. The memo, read by an anonymous source, was about Comey's meetings with President Trump.

Democrats pointed out that Ryan had called for Democrat Hillary Clinton to be denied classified briefings after Comey concluded previous year that she was careless in how she handled classified information over her email accounts.

"While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn", the White House said in a statement.

Such sentiments echo Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, who took again to social media on Tuesday to chastise USA journalism.

But if Comey had gone public in February, the defense from Republicans would have been that Trump just talks like that, and he wasn't trying to obstruct justice, and you shouldn't take him so literally.

A Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, later told reporters that Moscow had in its possession a written record of the conversation, not an audio recording.

There is no suggestion Mr Trump committed a crime as he has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will.

US media have reported that during his May 10 meeting with Lavrov, Trump disclosed highly classified information received from a USA ally - reportedly Israel - about a planned operation by the extremist group Islamic State.

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