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The Latest: Top Judiciary Democrat wants Comey subpoenaed

FILE - In this June 9, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. A clear majority of Americans believe Trump has tried to interfere with the investigation into Russia’s alleged election meddling and possible Trump campaign collusion, a new poll shows. Just one in five support his decision to oust James Comey from the FBI. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee is encouraging the panel’s Republican chairman to subpoena former FBI Director James Comey if he won’t willingly come before the committee.

Comey declined Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s request to testify and went before the Senate Intelligence Committee instead.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein says in a letter to Grassley Thursday that Comey should testify as part of the Judiciary panel’s separate probe into Russian interference in U.S. elections and possible political interference at the FBI.

Grassley and Feinstein met to discuss possible subpoenas earlier this week. Feinstein says committee Democrats “are supportive of issuing a subpoena should it become necessary.”

In addition, Feinstein has asked Grassley to call Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several other Trump administration officials to testify.

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5:25 p.m.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has met with the Senate Intelligence Committee for more than three hours in a closed session as part of the panel’s probe into Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top two members of the panel, said after the meeting Thursday that Coats was speaking to the committee to “clear up a number of questions” after he testified in an open session last week. He also discussed his agency’s budget.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking interviews with Coats and two other Trump administration officials and that the Russia investigation is widening to examine whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice.

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11 a.m.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify in open session before the House intelligence committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election campaign.

The panel announced Thursday that Johnson will testify June 21. Last week, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said the committee would ask Johnson to testify about interactions former President Barack Obama’s administration had with secretaries of state and local election officials about the dangers the Russian hacking posed to election systems.

The Senate intelligence committee has also interviewed Johnson in connection with its investigation of Russian activities during last year’s election campaign.

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8:29 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says former FBI Director James Comey’s acknowledgement that he had given memos of his conversations with President Donald Trump to a friend who leaked them to the media is “weird.”

Speaking Thursday in live call-in show, Putin compared Comey’s move to that of NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked thousands of secret documents from the National Security Agency. Putin added on a sarcastic note that Russia could grant Comey political asylum.

Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013 when it gave him asylum, resisting U.S. pressure to extradite him.

Comey told Congress last week that he leaked his memos of his conversations Trump to a friend after a tweet by the president suggested he may have taped the conversations.

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8:13 a.m.

President Donald Trump is telling his Twitter followers that they are witnessing the “single greatest WITCH HUNT in American history.”

The president didn’t clarify what exactly he was referring to in the early morning tweet, however he has frequently described reports about possible ties between members of his campaign and Russia as a “witch hunt.”

Trump writes, “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA” — the acronym referring to his campaign slogan, Make America Great Again.

Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted that a new report suggesting that special counsel Robert Mueller may investigate him for possible obstruction of justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey is a “phony story.”

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7:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is taking to Twitter denounce reports that the Russia investigation is widening to examine whether he tried to obstruct justice.

In a tweet early Thursday, Trump said: “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.”

The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking interviews with three Trump administration officials who weren’t involved in Trump’s campaign. Those officials are: Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, the former NSA deputy director.

Accusations of obstruction arose last month when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey told Congress last week that he believed he was fired “because of the Russia investigation.”

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4:15 a.m.

The special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign is now examining whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening.

Accusations of obstruction arose last month when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey testified in a Senate hearing last week that he believed he was fired “because of the Russia investigation.”

Comey also testified he had told Trump he was not under investigation.

The Post and The New York Times both reported that Mueller was seeking interviews with three Trump administration officials who weren’t involved in Trump’s campaign: Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, the former NSA deputy director.

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