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James Comey, the FBI director, was reportedly prepared to write an op-ed over the summer about information on Russia’s influence in the U.S. presidential election, but officials from the Obama administration blocked him from writing the piece.

Newsweek, citing two unnamed sources, reported on Wednesday that Comey pitched the idea in the White House’s situation room sometime between June and July.

The source told the magazine that there was a draft. Comey reportedly “held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward, what to people think of this?” He made the pitch in front on Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the report said.

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He would likely have pitched the op-ed to The New York Times.

The question of collusion between Russian interests and Trump’s campaign continues, despite repeated assertions by the president’s spokesman that it’s case closed.

Sean Spicer angrily dismissed inquiries about the matter Tuesday, declaring that “every single person who’s been briefed on this, as I’ve said ad nauseam from this podium … have been very clear that there is no connection between the president or the staff here and anyone doing anything with Russia.”

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday they are expanding their investigation of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential campaign and beyond, vowing to remain independent and “get to the bottom of this” – amid mounting controversy over a similar probe on the House side.

The senators announced they are now scheduling interviews and reviewing thousands of sensitive documents, and are prepared to issue subpoenas if necessary.

Spicer’s claim that even Democrats who have been briefed on the matter agree there was no collusion is at odds with statements from Democrats. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a recipient of classified briefings, has said “there is more than circumstantial evidence now” of a relationship between Russian interests and Trump associates.

Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser when his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. emerged. As for “staff here” being in the clear, as Spicer put it, they have neither been identified as targets of the investigations nor ruled out.

A close adviser to Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, has agreed to talk to lawmakers about his business dealings with Russians. Other Trump associates have volunteered to be interviewed by the House and Senate intelligence committees as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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