Former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), James Comey, has begun testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in one of the most highly anticipated hearings in US congressional history.

Comey's testimony started at 10am and is the first time the pubic hears from the former director since his sacking by US President Donald Trump on May 9.

He was dismissed as he was leading an FBI investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. 

Comey will tell Congress that Trump demanded his loyalty, and repeatedly urged him to halt a probe into his former national security adviser's ties to Russia.

The Senate panel released Comey's written testimony on Wednesday, shifting the drama to the question and answer period of the hearing.

In his written testimony, Comey quoted Trump as telling him the Russia investigation was a "cloud" impairing his ability to operate as president.

In a detailed account of a series of conversations with Trump, Comey said Trump told him during a one-on-one dinner on January 27 that he needed "loyalty."

In a second one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office on February 14, according to Comey's statement, Trump asked him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, part of a wider probe into Russian meddling in the election.

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Comey quoted Trump as saying.

Source: Al Jazeera News

US & Canada, Politics