UPDATE 3-Trump seeks legislative wins to cast off shadow of Russia probes

(Updates with Trump meeting Republican leaders)

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump met with Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday to push for efforts to overhaul the U.S. healthcare and tax systems, as investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign weigh on his administration.

In a White House meeting, Trump welcomed indications by senior Republicans that the Senate might vote on a healthcare bill in July, before it breaks for the summer. He noted the difficulty in getting the House of Representatives to approve healthcare legislation early last month.

"Now the Senate I'm sure will follow suit and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great healthcare and I'm looking forward to seeing it," Trump said. The gathering included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, his No. 2, Senator John Cornyn along with House Speaker Paul Ryan and his deputies, Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.

Buffeted by criticism on many fronts, Trump wants faster action from his fellow Republicans who control Congress to advance his legislative agenda, pressing lawmakers to finish the job of dismantling the Obamacare healthcare law and move on quickly to another of his priorities: tax cuts.

Republican lawmakers remain divided on healthcare after the House passed a bill to replace Obamacare.

The party's senators were to discuss options for the legislation at a weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, Cornyn told reporters on Capitol Hill, adding there could be a vote in the Senate on healthcare in July sometime.

"Weve been talking about this for seven years. Nows the time to start coming up with some tangible alternatives and building consensus, Cornyn said on Monday night. Republicans have sought to overturn Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature domestic law since it was enacted in 2010.

Whatever the White House's efforts to push ahead with policy plans, there will be a spotlight on testimony by James Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump last month, to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Senators will question Comey on whether Trump tried to get him to back off an FBI investigation into ties between the president's 2016 campaign and Russia, an attempt that critics have said could constitute obstruction of justice. Trump denies any collusion with Russia, and has called the investigation a "witch hunt."

The Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to oversee its probe into the Russia issue and several congressional panels are also investigating the matter.


Elected on pledges to overhaul the healthcare system and slash taxes, Trump has yet to achieve a major legislative win, and time is running out before lawmakers leave Washington for the August break.

There has been little progress on healthcare since the House passed its bill. McConnell told Reuters late last month he did not yet know how to amass the votes needed to pass a bill on healthcare.

Plans to roll back the government's Medicaid health plan for the poor and disabled are still a big sticking point among the congressional Republicans, said Senator John Thune.

"I think theres a way we can get there, none of this is going to be easy, he said on Monday.

The House healthcare bill could result in 23 million people losing insurance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, although Republicans have challenged that conclusion. The bill would also reduce federal deficits by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026, according to the analysis.

The White House also wants to see a vote to raise the government's borrowing authority, known as the debt limit, before the congressional summer break.

Republican fiscal conservatives routinely demand budget cuts and other concessions in return for raising the debt limit, setting up a likely fight.

Congress might then turn its focus to overhauling the tax code in September. While the administration would prefer that such changes not add to the national debt, Marc Short, Trump's top aide on Capitol Hill, told reporters on Monday that the top priority would be cutting taxes.

"We want it to be revenue neutral, and we are still supportive of tax reform, but I am also saying to you that what we believe is most important to get the economy going is the tax cuts," he said.

The Trump administration has outlined a broad plan that would cut tax rates for businesses and streamline the tax system for individuals. The proposal has been short on details, including how much the tax cuts would cost and what loopholes would be closed. (Additional reporting Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell, Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell and Steve Holland; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Frances Kerry)