Paper says Comey didn’t pledge loyalty to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the FBI (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

The New York Times reports that former FBI Director James Comey declined to pledge loyalty to President Donald Trump during a dinner the two men shared in January.

The newspaper quotes two unnamed Comey associates who say they heard Comey’s account of the dinner.

Comey instead promised Trump “honesty.” When Trump then pressed for “honest loyalty,” Comey told the president, “you will have that,” say the associates, who told the newspaper they agreed to keep the story confidential while Comey was FBI director.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the report.

But the account echoes wording in a comment made a day earlier to The Associated Press by longtime Comey friend Daniel Richman, who said the president had removed “somebody unwilling to pledge absolute loyalty to him.”

6:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump says there was “no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians.”

Trump made the assertion in an interview Thursday with NBC News. The interview comes days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey amid a bureau investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign’s possible ties to Russia’s election meddling.

Trump adds that “the Russians did not affect the vote. And everybody seems to think that.”

He also says, “If Russia or anybody else is trying to interfere with our elections I think it’s a horrible thing and I want to get to the bottom of it and I want to make sure it will never ever happen.”

5:05 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to his request to invite Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to brief senators next week.

Schumer made the announcement on the Senate floor Thursday. He says he hopes the briefing will take place early next week.

The development comes as Capitol Hill is consumed with the drama around President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. Democrats want to question Rosenstein about the memo he wrote criticizing Comey, which the White House has cited as justification for Trump’s sudden firing of the FBI director.

Schumer says Democrats also hope to hear from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Democrats are pushing for an independent counsel on Russian interference in the U.S. election, but Republicans are refusing.

4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says former FBI Director James Comey is a “showboat” and a “grandstander” who has brought turmoil to the agency.

Trump, who abruptly fired Comey earlier this week, tells NBC News in an interview Thursday that the FBI was in “virtual turmoil” less than a year ago and hasn’t recovered.

Asked about Trump’s description of Comey, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump’s comment was “probably based on the numerous appearances” that Comey has made. Comey has testified before Congress, in public and closed sessions, several times this year.

His public appearances regarding the FBI investigation…

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