Trump Tells Russians That Comey Firing Relieved Pressure
Investigators probing Russian interference in the presidential election have identified a senior White House advisor as a significant person of interest, the Washington Post reported.
Trump reportedly added that he wasn’t under investigation, which is potentially untrue, since the president may not know the extent or specifics of the probe.
Congress members said the third line of investigation was added recently, after memos surfaced claiming Mr Trump had tried to convince his former FBI director to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn. “He did acknowledge that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo”, McCaskill told reporters.
He said in a statement 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 group.
U.S. President Donald Trump was hit on Friday by embarrassing leaks that a senior adviser was a “person of interest” in a probe of possible collusion with Russia during last year’s election campaign and that Trump had boasted to Russian officials of firing the man heading the investigation.
President Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak at the White House on May 10.
Mr. Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week that Mr. Comey was a “nut job”, according to the Times, citing notes taken at the meeting and read to the paper by a United States official.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the presidents rhetoric part of his deal-making. President Donald Trump has been narrowing a short list and interviewing candidates to replace FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired on May 9. That’s because Comey, as FBI director, was leading the Russia investigation and had recently announced the probe was targeting alleged Russian ties to Trump’s campaign.
He said both Republicans and Democrats both applauded when he responded to a question about the ability of Mueller to decide the contours of the investigation.
“We’re extremely disappointed in James Comey’s decision not to testify voluntarily before the Judiciary Committee”.
But behind closed doors, lawmakers are growing increasingly nervous that with Mr Mueller’s rise, their committee probes may be pushed aside – especially if he chooses to pursue a broad inquiry encompassing everything from the earliest allegations of Russian hacks to the circumstances that led to the firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
The White House originally pointed to the recommendation of acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the impetus for Comey’s firing, but Trump and Rosenstein have both since said that Trump chose to fire Comey before receiving Rosenstein’s recommendation.
“I wrote it”, Rosenstein said.
“Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader”, Rosenstein said. Mr. Rosenstein said Mr. Comey never made the request.
There was considerable frustration in the room, said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a member of the Armed Services Committee. “I don’t think (Rosenstein) did a lot to bolster our confidence in him today”.
The White House has struggled since Comey’s firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and the Justice Department’s involvement in that decision. “I wrote a brief memorandum to the attorney general summarizing my long-standing concerns about Director Comey’s public statements concerning the Secretary Clinton email investigation”.