It’s greatest witch-hunt, says Donald Trump
“The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it”, Spicer said, adding that the real story was the leaks of “private and highly classified conversations”.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the account.
The BBC’s Gary O’Donoghue, in Washington, says the White House has chosen to interpret the president’s words as relating to the national interest rather than to himself.
Trump on Friday took off for a nine-day trip overseas, his first as president.
It says the president then told Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador that he “faced great pressure because of Russian Federation”.
Separately, a Washington Post report, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, said a senior Trump adviser was now considered a “person of interest” in the law enforcement investigation into whether Mr Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russian Federation in an effort to sway the 2016 election. Trump told senior Russian officials, in the Oval Office, that he fired Comey to relieve the pressure of an investigation into whether their government was colluding with his campaign. When Comey was appointed to succeed Mueller as FBI Director, both men appeared together and were effusive in their praise of one another.
‘This. Is. Obstruction. Of.
President Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House on May 10, 2017. Cummings called Trump’s reported comment “astonishing and extremely troubling”.
The New York Times reports that Trump also had a few choice words for the Russians about the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey, whom he defenestrated last week.
The White House did not deny the Post’s report but responded that no collusion happened between Russian Federation and the campaign. Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates had also warned the White House that Mr Flynn was potentially vulnerable to Russian extortion almost three weeks before he stepped down.
The news that Rosenstein knew about Comey’s firing before he wrote the memo could make the deputy attorney general a witness in Mueller’s investigation, the Times noted.
Rosenstein’s memo, which said Comey improperly spoke publicly about an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, was initially cited as the reason President Donald Trump fired Comey last week. Durbin said Rosenstein told senators he wrote the letter giving justification for Comey’s firing knowing the plans were already in the works. The date has not been set.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Democratic Sen.
In a statement, he said that Comey had put unnecessary pressure on the president’s ability to conduct diplomacy with Russian Federation on matters such as Syria, Ukraine, and the Islamic State. The request was made by Trump after Flynn resigned as the national security advisor following surfacing of reports that he had maintained links with the Russians.
But Mr Trump, after issuing a measured statement when the news first broke on Wednesday evening, allowed his resentment to burst forth on Thursday in angry morning tweets.