New Russia probe leaks threaten to derail Trump’s foreign trip
The Committee will schedule the open hearing after Memorial Day.
Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting. “He was insane, a real nut job“, Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarizing the meeting and read to it by an unnamed U.S. official.
In the remarks, Rosenstein said he learned a day before Comey’s firing that Trump wanted to dismiss him.
Mueller’s former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Kushner – who has been in the spotlight over the president’s decision to fire James Comey from the FBI and for meeting with Russian officials – and Manafort, who is now under federal investigation.
The day after firing Comey, Trump hosted Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in the Oval Office, along with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak.
Contacted by the Times, White House press secretary Sean Spice did not deny Trump had made the statements, saying Comey’s “grandstanding and politicizing” of the Russian Federation probe had put “unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation”.
“A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity”, he declared.
“The President has always emphasised the importance of making deals with Russian Federation as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people”, the statement said.
“By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage with Russian Federation”, press secretary Sean Spicer said in the statement.
Michael Allen, a former senior director on the National Security Council in the George W. Bush White House, said that transcripts of meetings with foreign leaders usually “are treated like the crown jewels”.
The developments were a blow to White House efforts to tamp down interest in the Russian Federation investigation as Mr Trump and his staff boarded Air Force One for Saudi Arabia – the first stop on his first foreign trip as President.
Separately, The Washington Post reported Friday that the FBI investigation into possible co-ordination between Russian Federation and the Trump presidential campaign was moving closer to the White House. Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed – as recently as Thursday – to the “very strong” recommendation from Rosenstein.
Mr Rosenstein told Congress he stands by a memo he wrote bluntly criticising Mr Comey.
Chaffetz has scheduled a hearing on Comey’s firing next Wednesday, although it’s not clear if Comey will testify. “My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination”, he said.
“I wrote it”, Rosenstein said.
She said subjects of the investigation could later argue that its results cannot be trusted, but she believes the argument would not stand up in court.
The White House on Friday predicted that the investigation would back up Trump’s account.
House members leaving a briefing by the deputy attorney general on the probe of connections between Russian Federation and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign say they’re frustrated at not getting answers.
The appointment has drawn generally favourable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well.
Robert Mueller, who served as FBI chief under George W Bush, was appointed this week as special counsel for the investigation. Trump has denied any collusion and called the case a waste of money and time.