Comey agrees to testify on Russian Federation

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify in an open hearing before Congress, senators from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence announced Friday - giving Comey his first chance to publicly recount the events that led up to his sudden and unceremonious firing by President Donald Trump last week.

At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new USA president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids.

While most U.S. presidents make their first foreign trip to neighbouring Canada or Mexico, 70-year-old Trump has opted instead for the Middle East and Europe.

It's all part of a worldwide effort to accommodate America's homebody president on a voyage with increasingly raised stakes, given the ballooning controversy involving his campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation. "That's taken off." Trump's Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak came one day after Comey was sacked.

On Saturday, however, none of the women in Trump's delegation covered their hair, and there appeared to be little consternation from the many Saudi men who greeted them at the airport.

President Trump's multi-city overseas trip is meant to bolster relations with Muslim and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. White House aides view the address as a counter to Obama's 2009 speech to the Muslim world, which Trump criticized as too apologetic for us actions in the region.

Senior adviser and President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, travelling as part of the presidential entourage, was also seen not wearing an abaya (traditional robe).

White House aides had hoped Trump's ambitious foreign swing would provide relief from a barrage of bad headlines.

White House officials have said they consider Trump's visit, and his keynote address, a counterweight to President Obama's debut speech to the Muslim world in 2009 in Cairo.

And The New York Times reported the president had told Russian diplomats last week his firing of "nut job" Mr Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him.

That hasn't dampened expectations for Trump's arrival in the Arab Gulf, however.

The normally austere kingdom has put on a major display for the visit, with the streets of Riyadh lined with USA and Saudi flags and billboards featuring Trump and King Salman.

Michelle Obama did not cover her head when she accompanied then-President Barack Obama on a condolence visit in January 2015 after the death of King Abdullah.

The agreement, which is worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion that will take effect immediately, was hailed by the White House as "a significant expansion of...[the] security relationship" between the two countries. The US President's visit comes as Iran's President Hassan Rouhani handily won re-election in what is a victory for the Shiite nation's reformist camp.

During meetings this weekend, Trump will work to develop relationships with the leaders, with whom the United States hopes to partner on fighting extremism.

"It's still sinking in", one administration official said, adding "We were told about it".

Trump is to hold formal talks with the Saudi leader and the kingdom's two powerful crown princes later on Saturday, before giving a speech on Islam to leaders of Muslim countries on Sunday. An early draft of his speech does not contain the phrase "radical Islamic terror", a term which Trump has emphasized back home.

Vanessa Coleman

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