Donald Trump asked Mr Comey to close the probe into his former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s links with Russia shortly before he sacked the FBI director, according to a memo by Mr Comey.
The US president is quoted as saying: “I hope you can let this go”. The White House has rejected the memo as inaccurate.
Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, has now been appointed as special counsel to oversee the inquiry into links between Mr Trump’s election campaign and Russia.
As Democrats continue to call for the US President’s removal, Express.co.uk brings you breaking news, live updates and the latest odds on Mr Trump being impeached.
Friday May 19
11:50pm BST: James Comey will testify at open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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.”
9.30pm BST: President Trump told Russian officials James Comey was a “nut job” and firing him had relieved “great pressure”, according to a document leaked to the New York Times.
The newspaper claims a US official read a document to reporters summarising a meeting between the President and Moscow representatives in the Oval Office, shortly after he sacked the FBI chief.
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” the President is quoted as saying.
“I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
“I’m not under investigation.”
7.30pm BST: Donald Trump’s odds of being impeached under the 25th Amendment of the US constitution in his first term are 11/4, according to Oddschecker.
The odds checking site further gives odds of 5 for Congress deciding to impeach President Trump in his first term.
Oddschecker also provides odds on Mr Trump’s exit date:
2017 at 2
2018 at 7/2
2019 at 12
2020 or later at 11/10.
6.15pm BST: US stocks have bounced back after a week of uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency.
Wall Street was on track for the worst weekly decline since April, but a set of strong corporate earnings helped the situation.
Investors now worry that the political row in Washington could have further impact on President Trump’s promise of fiscal stimulus.
“We think the Trump trade and the reflation trade have unwound almost entirely post election, and the market is relying on recovery in earnings and strong fundamentals,” said Matt Jones, U.S. head of equity strategy, J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
5.10pm BST: Donald Trump has been reportedly urged to hire a lawyer as the impeachment row gains more traction in the media.
According to the New York Times, President Trump has been urged to seek legal help in the wake of firing FBI director James Comey.
Meanwhile some Democrats are starting to discuss the possibility of vice-president Mike Pence taking over office if Mr Trump is impeached.
“It’s time to talk about Mike Pence,” Emily Aden, director of American Bridge, told The new York Times.
“Pence is just as complicit in this scandal as every other Republican in Washington, and despite his best efforts to fly under the radar, he should expect the country to hold him accountable.”
4.15pm BST: Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, could be taking a toll on the value of the US dollar.
The currency is poised for its worst week since April 2016, against some of the world’s major currencies.
John Doyle, director of markets at Tempus Inc, told Reuters: “The dollar overall, across the board, has been getting beat up this week and a lot of that has to do with the political risk here in DC.”
“While we saw a little bit of a reprieve yesterday, we’re right back on that dollar weakness train.”
Donald Trump’s approval ratings have hit an all time low
2.30pm BST: Donald Trump’s approval ratings have tumbled in the wake of this week’s events.
The latest poll by Morning Consult and Politico found that 53 per cent of Americans disapprove of the job that Mr Trump is doing as president.
Just 41 per cent approved of his work, and six per cent were unsure or had no opinion.
More than half (58 per cent) thought that Mr Trump’s decision to share highly sensitive information with Russian diplomats was inappropriate, with just 22 per cent backing the president.
Sixty per cent said he was reckless, 77 per cent labelled him arrogant, and 58 per cent said he says one thing and does another.
When asked if they thought that Mr Trump was right to fire James Comey, 50 per cent said it was inappropriate. Just 28 per cent said that it was the right decision.
10.42am BST: Donald Trump is setting off on first foreign trip as president today, and has said that he is looking forward “to getting this whole situation behind us”.
The President has spent the past week facing calls for impeachment, which has left his White House divided and officials fearful for their jobs.
One official told CNN that the tour is “kind of do-or-die”, referring to both staff and the President’s fortunes.
Mr Trump will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium and will tell Muslim leaders of his “hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam”.
8.00am BST: Donald Trump’s first press conference since sacking FBI director James Comey has attracted criticism for it unusual nature.
Much of the criticism is based on Mr Trump’s refusal to answer a reporter’s question about whether he asked Mr Comey to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn’s links with Russia.
“No, no, next question,” began trending after the US president shut down ABC News’ Scott Thurman.
Donald Trump is facing calls for his impeachment
02.40am BST: Donald Trump brutally put down a reporter who asked whether he urged former FBI director James Comey to shut down the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s alleged ties to Russia.
The President interrupted the reporter with “no, no, next question” when asked whether he had tried to stop the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s alleged involvement in the presidential election last year.
Thursday May 18
10pm BST: Donald Trump said the appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between his presidential campaign on Russia was dividing the country, and he repeated his contention there was no such collusion.
He said: ”There’s been no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians. Zero. I think it divides the country.”
8.50pm BST: Democrats appear to be in no rush to push Donald Trump out of the White House.
Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said: “No one ought to, in my view, rush to embrace the most extraordinary remedy that involves the removal of the president from office.
He warned that Democrats should not let their actions “be perceived as an effort to nullify the election by other means.”
6.10pm BST: Long time Donald Trump supporter Ann Coulter is voicing her concerns about the progress Donald Trump has made since taking office.
“I’m not very happy with what has happened so far,” Coulter told the Daily Caller. “I guess we have to try to push him to keep his promises.
“But this isn’t North Korea, and if he doesn’t keep his promises I’m out.”
Ms Coulter is increasingly worried about the lack of progress on Mr Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico.
She added: “I have no regrets for ferociously supporting him. What choice did we have?”
“I don’t apologize… He said all the right things and nobody else would even say it.”
4.50pm BST: DC Republican Party former chairman Ron Philips has dismissed the idea that there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign as a “ridiculous notion”.
“Never in the history of the United States have we seen such biased coverage towards the White House,” he told Sky News.
12.52pm BST: Mr Trump has just tweeted: “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!
“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
11.55am BST: Mr Trump’s campaign made contact with Russia at least 18 times during the election race, a new report has claimed.
Former US officials told Reuters that Michael Flynn and other advisors had ties with Moscow.
Mr Flynn and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak allegedly discussed setting up a back channel for communications between Mr Trump and Vladimir Putin that “could bypass the US national security bureaucracy”.
These talks escalated after Mr Trump won the election on November 8, the report said.
10.27am BST: Mr Trump has a 55 per cent chance of leaving office before the end of his first term, according to Betfair.
The bookmaker has given Mr Trump a 27 per cent chance of exiting this year, with a 20 per cent chance that he will leave the White House in 2018.
The most likely option (45 per cent) is a Trump exit in 2020 or later, after the end of his first term.
10am BST: Republican Kevin McCarthy has said he was only joking when he suggested that money had exchanged hands between Mr Trump and Mr Putin.
During a meeting in June 2016, Mr McCarthy reportedly said: “There’s two people, I think, Putin pays –[California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.”
According to a transcript published by the Washington Post, speaker Paul Ryan replied: “This is an off the record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?”
Mr McCarthy yesterday told reporters at the Capitol: “It’s a bad attempt at a joke; that’s all there is to it. No one believes it to be true from any stretch of fact.”
Mr Ryan’s spokesman said last night: “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humour.”
8.45am BST: Former FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, the US Justice Department has announced.
Mr Mueller said: “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explained his decision to appoint a special counsel by saying: “I determined that it is on the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter.
“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.”
In a statement, Mr Trump said: “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.
“I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
Donald Trump impeachment: The President has insisted that there ‘was no collusion’ with Russia
Mr Mueller was appointed as FBI director by George W Bush in 2001 and served for much of Barack Obama’s tenure, making him a savvy choice that has won bipartisan support.
Democrat House minority leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed his appointment, calling him “a respected public servant of the highest integrity”.
Ms Pelosi added: “The Trump Administration must make clear that Director Mueller will have the resources and independence he needs to execute this critical investigation.”
Another Democrat, Representative Al Green, yesterday called for Mr Trump’s impeachment on the House floor.
“It’s a position of conscience for me,” he said. “This is about what I believe. And this is where I stand. I will not be moved. The president must be impeached.”
Mr Trump’s confirmation that he shared confidential intelligence with Russian officials has further incensed opponents campaigning for his removal.
The White House initially denied reports that the President told Russian diplomats sensitive information about a terror threat.
But Mr Trump tweeted: “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.
“Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to release transcripts of the White House meeting to prove that Mr Trump did not divulge any secrets.