Trump wishes Comey luck, allies aim at lawman's credibility

Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence, told associates in March that Donald Trump asked him to intervene with then-FBI Director James Comey and get him to have the bureau back off of its investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his ties to Russian Federation.

Trump was asked about his message for Comey as the president welcomed Republican congressional leaders to the White House.

A non-profit issues group is labelling James Comey a political "showboat" in a television ad set to air Thursday, the day the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director testifies on Capitol Hill.

Both White House officials and an outside group that backs Trump plan to hammer Comey in the coming days for misstatements he made about Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails during his last appearance on Capitol Hill.

Presidents can assert executive privilege to prevent government employees from sharing information.

This was confirmed to CBS News by an individual familiar with what Comey told associates after Mr. Trump asked him to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination took place between his campaign and the Russian government, which, according to US intelligence agencies, stole emails embarrassing to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and leaked them to undermine her campaign.

Another source, who asked not to be named, said Comey does not see it as his role to charge the president or anyone else with obstruction of justice or any other crime.

He will dispute the president's claims that he assured him on three occasions that he was not under investigation, according to the report. A prior report said that Trump had asked Coats to publicly deny any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment on Tuesday.

But he told NBC News anchor Lester Holt later in May the Russian Federation probe - though a "made-up story" according to Trump - was on his mind when he fired Comey.

White House officials appear eager to keep the president away from television and Twitter Thursday, though those efforts rarely succeed.

Faith and Freedom spokesman Lance Lemmonds says the president is expected to speak at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Trump joked during the gathering that his aide "has become much more famous than me". Hale said in a statement: "Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President".

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