While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 8 edition

Fired FBI director James Comey (above, in a file photo) is due to testify on Capitol Hill.
Fired FBI director James Comey (above, in a file photo) is due to testify on Capitol Hill.PHOTO: REUTERS

Ex-FBI chief Comey says Trump pressured him on Russia probe

Fired FBI director James Comey said in a statement released on the web that Donald Trump urged him to drop a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, prompting fresh allegations that the US president tried to obstruct justice.

In a bombshell revelation on the eve of his hotly-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill, Comey said Trump had raised the sensitive FBI probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election in multiple discussions, leaving him deeply uneasy over whether the President was attempting to interfere.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy,” Comey quoted Trump as telling him on Feb 14 as they sat alone together in the Oval Office, in prepared testimony for Thursday’s Senate hearing.

“I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with his false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December,” added Comey, who was fired by Trump in early May.

Comey also said Trump demanded a pledge of loyalty in a White House meeting on Jan 27, just days after the Republican billionaire took office under a cloud of allegations that Russia’s interference had helped him win the election.


Donald Trump calls Qatar's Emir as efforts build to end crisis

President Donald Trump called Qatar’s Emir and offered US help as efforts grew to resolve a damaging feud between the emirate and its Gulf neighbours.

Trump’s call to Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, a key US ally, came as a senior Emirati official told AFP that Gulf Arab states were not seeking regime change in Doha.

“The President offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary,” Trump’s office said after the call.

A Qatari official said Trump in the call had “expressed readiness to find a solution to the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, and stressed his keenness that the Gulf remains stable.”


US woman on trial accused of pushing boyfriend to suicide

A 20-year-old woman has gone on trial in the US, accused of persuading her teenage boyfriend to kill himself, in a case that could break new legal ground.

Michelle Carter is charged with involuntary manslaughter and has waived her right to a jury trial, meaning her fate will be decided by a judge. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Conrad Roy, 18, was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his pickup truck in a parking lot in July 2014. The prosecution contends that Carter and Roy exchanged hundreds of text messages in which Carter urged him to follow through on his plan to kill himself.


Ariana Grande resumes tour in Paris amid tight security

Fans turned out on Wednesday evening for the resumption of US singer Ariana Grande's world tour in Paris, more than two weeks after it was interrupted by the Manchester suicide bomb attack.

Security was extra tight in the French capital, a day after police shot and injured a man who attacked an officer outside the world-famous Notre Dame cathedral.

Even before Tuesday's Notre Dame attack, police had announced a significant deployment planned for the US singer's concert, noting its "powerful symbolic context".


Tennis: McEnroe blasts Djokovic, says the Serb 'gave up'

US tennis legend John McEnroe accused Novak Djokovic of giving up in his stunning French Open exit at the hands of Dominic Thiem on Wednesday.

Defending champion Djokovic collapsed to a meek 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0 loss to Thiem in what was his earliest exit at Roland Garros in seven years.

Defeat also meant that just 12 months after holding all four Grand Slam titles, the 30-year-old was left fighting to prove he is still a relevant force in the sport.

"I don't remember seeing a time in the last six to eight years when Novak mailed it in," seven-time major winner McEnroe told the BBC. "He basically gave up."