BREAKING: Former FBI chief James Comey will testify in public session amid Trump 'scandal'

The hearing, which will take place after the Memorial Day public holiday on May 29, comes after calls from US officials for the release of memos written by Mr Comey outlining his conversations with President Trump.

The recently sacked intelligence official has agreed to the hearing amid growing concern over President Trump’s ties to Russia and his involvement in the ongoing the investigation.

Chairman Senator Richard Burr has confirmed the committee wants to hear from Mr Comey on his role in the Russian investigation in relation to interference in last year’s election.

Senator Burr said: “The Committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media,”

The committee will also probe the former FBI chief on the events surrounding his dismissal earlier this month as swirling controversy threatens to derail President Trump’s political ambitions.

Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner said he anticipates Mr Comey will “shed light on issues critical” to the committee’s investigation.

Senator Warner said: ”I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President.

“I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

“Director Comey served his country with honour for many years, and he deserves an opportunity to tell his story. 

“Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it”.

Reports have emerged that Mr Comey wrote a memo after a meeting with Mr Trump, where the US President was quoted as saying “I hope you can let this go”.

The memo is said to have been written by Mr Comey the day after Mr Flynn resigned.

Meanwhile a leading Republican senator has claimed the US Justice Department probe into alleged ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is “now considered a criminal investigation”

Lindsey Graham, who has served as the Republican senator for North Carolina since 2003, told reporters that during an all-senators briefing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had hinted that the probe over Russia ties “may be a criminal investigation”.

While Mr Graham said had been unable to ask Mr Rosenstein directly, he added: “The takeaway I have is, everything he said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation.”

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