The Trump-Russia probe is now investigating a possible cover-up

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It says the president then told Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador that he “faced great pressure because of Russian Federation”.

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”.

President Trump fired Comey last week, setting off a political firestorm that included allegations that he is trying to influence the federal investigation into alleged collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 election. “Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution”.

“I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the president”, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, said in a statement.

The White House executive summary “contained Mr. Trump’s comments, was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting”, the Times said. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Mr Kushner has long advised the President both during his campaign and in the White House.

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.

“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. “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously the termination of Comey would not have ended it”.

Comey turned down an invitation to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, although a date has not yet been set, according to the committee’s chairman Senator Richard Burr.

Trump’s trip, which also includes stops in Israel, Italy and Belgium next week, has been billed by the administration as a chance to visit places sacred to three of the world’s major religions while giving him time to meet with Arab, Israeli and European leaders.

A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under.

The Russian government is accused by United States intelligence of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

The president has been adamant that the meddling did not alter the outcome of the race, but it has become a political cudgel for his opponents.

We know Trump is not happy with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s decision to appoint a special counsel.

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.

It did not deny the Times report that Trump was critical of Comey to the Russians the day after he fired him.

In a potential bombshell, the Washington Post reports that investigators are focusing on a current White House official close to Trump as a person of interest in their probe into the administration’s ties to Russian Federation.

A White House official said: “We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russian Federation”.

In that same conversation, Trump referred to Comey as “crazy” and “a real nut job”, according to the Times.

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