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Comey, Republicans reach agreement amid Russia probe

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former FBI director James Comey

Former FBI director James Comey is set to testify in private before US Congress this week after reaching a deal with Republicans amid the so-called Russia probe.

Comey will testify next Friday after reaching a deal with the Republicans and dropping his challenge to a House subpoena, his lawyer, David Kelly, confirmed to The Hill Sunday.

The former chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had earlier in the day announced that he would not be able to give his testimony in public.

"Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in," Comey wrote on Twitter, following a hearing on his challenge.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte offered to publicly release a transcript of the closed-door testimony.

"So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours,” Comey added. “This is the closest I can get to public testimony."

Earlier on Sunday, Goodlatte suggested that Comey would agree to speak with congressional Republicans.

"I expect that later today Mr. Comey will withdraw his motion to quash our subpoena and agree to voluntarily appear for a transcribed interview," Goodlatte said. "That of course remains to be seen, it hasn't happened yet, but the counsel for the House and the counsel for Mr. Comey have been working cooperatively and I expect that'll happen."

US President Donald Trump fired Comey in May 2017, setting off a scramble at the Justice Department that led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The Trump campaign is also being probe for possible collusion with the Kremlin, an allegation denied by both sides.

Mueller’s probe has expanded to include whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey, which the president denies.

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