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Former FBI chief James Comey, who was fired by Donald Trump, has publicly released his testimony which claims the US president pressured him to shut down an investigation into a senior adviser's links with Russia.
Comey's revelation comes amidst a political crisis engulfing the White House ahead of his scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
The document gave a detailed account of Comey's private meetings with the president, included direct quotes from Trump and revealed the former FBI chief's discomfort with the president's behavior, reports the Guardian.
The most damning accusation in the document is that Trump asked Comey to drop his investigation into the former national security adviser Gen Michael Flynn.
The FBI investigations into Flynn centered on his calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go, he is a good guy. I hope you can let this go," the president is alleged to have told Comey in the White House in February.
Comey, who was subsequently dismissed by Trump, said that he took these comments to mean the president was asking him to drop the investigation into Flynn - an intervention he wrote that he found 'very concerning'.
Gen Michael Flynn (Credit: Gen Michael Flynn)
"I replied only that 'he is a good guy.'" Comey wrote, describing a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on February 14, then added: "I did not say I would 'let this go'."
Comey provides intriguing detail about his private conversations with Trump over seven pages of the document. This includes details of a phone call in which Trump allegedly asked what Comey could do to 'lift the cloud' of the Russia investigation.
Marc Kasowitz, representing president Trump in the Russia investigation, said in a statement: "The president is pleased that Mr Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the president was not under investigation in any Russian probe.
"The president feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda."
Comey's report is likely to become the backbone of an investigation into whether Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice - if found guilty, the president could face impeachment.
After his conversation with the president in Febuary, Comey immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Comey's testimony confirms 'a host of troubling allegations'.
"Two stand out," he explained. "The president sought to obtain a pledge of loyalty from the director of the FBI during a conversation that centered on whether the director would be able to keep his job.
"And second, the president effectively asked the director to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser.
"Congress must now determine whether the director's refusal to do either - or any other motivation to interfere with or obstruct any part of the Russia investigation - led ultimately to Comey's firing."
Source: The Guardian
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