The Latest: Ranking intel Dem calls Comey words 'disturbing' - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Copy-The Latest: Ranking intel Dem calls Comey words 'disturbing'

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on developments involving fired FBI Director James Comey (all times local):

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7:30 a.m.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says former FBI director James Comey's account of his conversations with the president about the Russia investigation are "disturbing."

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia will emphasize at Thursday's committee hearing that the American people need to realize that what happened was that a president asked an FBI director to drop an ongoing investigation into a former national security adviser.

Warner released excerpts of his opening remarks to the committee early Thursday ahead of the hearing.

Warner says that in violation of clear guidelines put in place after Watergate to prevent any whiff of political interference by the White House in FBI investigations, President Donald Trump also called Comey twice to ask him to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation over his White House.

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6:45 a.m.

A Senate Democrat is cautioning members of Congress against asserting too hastily that President Donald Trump has engaged in acts that could constitute obstruction of justice in the investigation of Russian meddling in last year's election.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware says, "I think we have to be careful about making legal conclusions" and argues that lawmakers should not be "getting in the way" of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller (MUHL'-ur).

But Coons also tells MSNBC in an interview, hours before fired FBI Director James Comey's Capitol Hill appearance, that he believes Trump's words and deeds go "right up to the line" of legality. The senator adds that statements about the Russia probe attributed to Trump by Comey raise the question of whether the president's actions "meet the legal standard for obstruction of justice."

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6:05 a.m.

The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says former FBI Director James Comey's testimony on President Donald Trump's conduct "is certainly evidence of interference or obstruction."

Comey is testifying Thursday that Trump urged him to back off from his investigation into Michael Flynn's contacts with Russians. Comey's written statement released ahead of his testimony said Trump had described the Russia investigation as a "cloud" that was interfering with his job. Comey is testifying that he gave Trump no such assurance. Trump fired him last month.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, made his assessment Wednesday in an interview with The Washington Post. Schiff added that even if Trump's actions met the legal test for obstruction, in practical terms it was less likely that the Republican-controlled Congress would move to remove him.

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3:45 a.m.

In a hugely anticipated hearing, fired FBI director James Comey will recount a series of conversations with President Donald Trump that he says made him deeply uneasy and concerned about the blurring of boundaries between the White House and a law enforcement agency that prides itself on independence.

The testimony, Comey's first public statements since his May 9 dismissal, is likely to bring hours of uncomfortable attention to an administration shadowed for months by an investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

His account of demands for loyalty from the president, and of requests to end an investigation into an embattled adviser, are likely to sharpen allegations that Trump improperly sought to influence the FBI-led probe.

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