Federal Bureau of Investigation probe moves into White House
The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.
Wittes said Comey had discussed several encounters with Trump that had troubled him, including a ceremony for law-enforcement officials in the Blue Room in January, two days after Trump was inaugurated.
The announcement from committee Chairman Richard Burr, of North Carolina, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat, followed only hours after the Washington Post reported the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election had identified a senior White House adviser close to the president as a significant person of interest.
Trump had ignited political firestorm the previous week when he fired Comey, who was running the investigation.
In the wake of his firing, there have been media reports that Trump had asked Comey in February to end an FBI investigation into the president’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.
The new headlines were a fresh indication that Trump would not be able to change the subject from what appears to be an intensifying investigation reaching toward the president and his inner circle.
Wittes claims that Comey repeatedly tried to “train” the Trump administration to only contact him through proper channels and said the White House was negligent about how involved a president should be in specific investigations. Another report, in The Washington Post, that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats in a meeting in the Oval Office last week has amplified concerns about the president’s dealings with Moscow.
Trump last week fired James Comey from his post as FBI director, explaining that it was partly because of the Russian Federation investigation.
The White House was conducting interviews on Wednesday of candidates to replace Comey as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Asked point-blank if he’d done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no – and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: “I think it’s totally ridiculous”.
A discordant note was sounded by Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, who praised Mueller’s credentials but said: “I don’t think they should have appointed someone”.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the president’s rhetoric part of his deal-making.
Singapore-based IG market analyst Jingyi Pan said the focus on the Comey investigation could maintain market jitters.
The firm represents Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who have taken on White House jobs. “I have made no such determination”, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement announcing the special counsel.
Wednesday, the justice department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation. Wittes said Comey was determined to not engage in such an embrace.
Cutting across party lines, top American lawmakers welcomed the Mueller’s for the investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the memo the president initially cited as justification for firing FBI Director James Comey.
Massachusetts Democratic congressman Seth Moulton says Rosenstein didn’t “do a lot to bolster our confidence in him”. In the statement, Rosenstein defended writing the memo, which criticized Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Trump, who said in a speech earlier on Wednesday that no politician in history “has been treated worse or more unfairly”, has long bristled at the notion that Russian Federation played any role in his election victory. “I believe it. I stand by it”.