Acting FBI chief to face congressional panel amid Comey firing fallout

It is now more probable than ever that President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because of his ongoing investigation into possibly corrupt links between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Mr Comey has not commented since he was sacked.

"All I can tell you is, well I know what, I know that I'm not under investigation. Me".

The White House rejected the suggestion that the exchange was inappropriate. The dinner described by Comey's associates came in the early days of Trump's administration, as the FBI was investigating Russian meddling in the election and possible ties to Trump's campaign.

In an interview with NBC on Thursday, Trump also revealed that he had asked Comey on three occasions whether he was personally under investigation. Moscow has denied any such interference and the Trump administration denies allegations of collusion with Russian Federation.

First, Trump himself has stated that he had made a decision to fire Comey on his own even before he received a memorandum from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein citing Comey's conduct during the FBI's investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's unauthorized private email server. Later in the dinner, Mr. Trump again said to Mr. Comey that he needed his loyalty.

According to two unnamed associates, Mr Comey declined - and instead offered "honesty".

Even before Mr Trump's provocative tweet, the White House was scrambling to clarify why Mr Comey was sacked.

The firing has made the committee's investigation into Russia's influence on the presidential election even more important, Warner added.

Whether or not they were honest in those expressions, the reality is that congressional Democrats did not ask for Trump to fire Comey.

He also pledged not to discuss the Russian Federation investigation with the White House. "The FBI director has no credibility", said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., this past January.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the report, and said the president would "never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty". News reporters shouldn't allow such facile spin to go unchecked.

That startling admission fanned suggestions that Trump may be interfering with the investigation and promoted Comey allies to refute Trump's account of events.

The Trump administration has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russian Federation investigation.

Mr. McCabe also directly contradicted the official argument by the Justice Department and the White House that Mr. Comey's behavior in the Clinton case was damaging to Federal Bureau of Investigation morale.

In announcing Comey's dismissal on Tuesday, the White House released documents from the attorney general and the deputy attorney general that outlined why Comey should be fired.

"There's a big thing going on which is spying, you can call it anything you want - the unmasking and the spying - and to me that's the big story right now", he raved.