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Former FBI Director James Comey To Testify Before House

Democrats complain Republicans are simply trying to fuel a conspiracy theory to protect Trump from the ongoing Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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Protesters urging the White House not to impede Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling gathered outside the White House and in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, in Washington. VOA

House Republicans are set to interview former FBI Director James Comey behind closed doors Friday, the last time before they cede power to Democrats in January.

The committee subpoenaed Comey last month to testify about investigations into the Donald Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Comey resisted, arguing the GOP-led investigation in the decision-making by the FBI and the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017 was politically motivated.

Call for public setting

He said in a Thanksgiving Day tweet that he may not appear if the interview is not conducted in a public setting.

“I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a ‘closed door’ thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion.” Comey added: “Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.”

But Comey relented to the closed-door interview after gaining a promise that a transcript of the session would be released to the public after 24 hours.

Republican lawmakers maintain that anti-Trump bias among senior officials resulted in the FBI focusing more on its probe into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia and less on its investigation into Democratic candidate Clinton’s private email server.

Trump has repeatedly called the Russia probe a “witch hunt” and has accused Comey and his close colleagues of being corrupt.

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Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

It a series of tweets early Friday, the president blasted Comey and the Mueller probe into Russia’s hacking of the 2016 U.S. national election.

Also Read: U.S. Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump Commits a Federal Felony

Conspiracy theory?

Democrats complain Republicans are simply trying to fuel a conspiracy theory to protect Trump from the ongoing Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats say they will scrutinize Trump’s attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department when they assume control of the House in January. They have also urged their Republican counterparts to shield Mueller from any attempts by Trump or his newly-appointed acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, to impede the investigation. (VOA)

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Russia Launched First Humanoid Robot Astronaut into the ISS

Russia launches humanoid robot into space

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The humanoid robot will be brought inside the ISS for five days of engineering tests. Pixabay

Russia launched its first humanoid robot astronaut into the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday.

The launch took place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3.38 a.m. (local time), said the Mission Control Centre of the Russian Federal Space Agency. It will reach the station on Saturday.

The robot — named Fedor (Experimental Demonstration Object Research) — is the first ever sent into space by Russia. It is the only commander and crewman onboard the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft. The humanoid robot is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 160 kg.

During its 10 days at the ISS, Fedor will learn new skills such as “connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” said Alexander Bloshenko, the Russian space agency’s Director for prospective programmes and science.

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The humanoid robot is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 160 kg. Pixabay

The humanoid robot will be brought inside the ISS for five days of engineering tests. It is expected to return to the Earth on September 6.

Also Read: Nokia Smartphones to Bring Android 10

It is hoped that Fedor will eventually carry out more dangerous tasks such as spacewalks, the BBC reported. Fedor is not the first robot sent into space.

The US sent a robot into space in 2011 with the aim of working in high-risk environments. It was flown back to the Earth in 2018 after suffered technical problems. Japan also sent a robot to the ISS in 2013. (IANS)