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Comey defers answer about Trump, Russia collusion

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US President Donald Trump addresses supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017.<br />President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. “We are going to fight and win” Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital. AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm

Sacked FBI director James Comey on Thursday refrained from answering a question on whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to sway the outcome of last year’s US election.

In explosive testimony that threatens the future of Trump’s young presidency, Comey gave details about an FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But asked whether he believed the president had colluded with Russia in trying to influence the vote, which ended with Democrat Hillary Clinton’s defeat, Comey said: “I don’t think I should answer in an open setting.”

At the time of his May 9 sacking by Trump as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Comey said there was no investigation focused on the president.

“But that’s a question that will be answered by the investigation, I think.”

The former director held back again when asked if he had reason to doubt previous statements from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein that she also had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I just worry it leads me deeper and deeper into talking about the investigation in an open setting,” Comey replied.

“I don’t want to be unfair. I’m not trying to suggest something nefarious, but I don’t want to get into the business of not as this person or that person,” he added.



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