White House Faces New Pressure on Comey, Russia
In the remarks, Rosenstein also batted down news reports that Comey had ever requested more resources for the investigation, and said acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe could not recall such a request either.
Rosenstein denied media reports from last week that Comey had asked him for additional resources for his investigation before Trump fired him.
On Friday, The New York Times reported that, according to notes taken during the meeting, Trump had bragged to the visiting Russian emissaries that firing Comey had taken “great pressure” off him. “Moreover, the American people deserve an opportunity to hear it”, Warner said in a statement.
Comey said he tried to avoid interaction with Trump because Trump had been making efforts to befriend him and build a personal relationship with him since he became president.
The White House doubled down on that stance Friday, with Spicer saying Comey’s investigation was harming U.S.
Warning that leaks were undermining national security, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said: “By grandstanding and politicising the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation”.
Spicer didn’t confirm or dispute the comments in the Times story on the meeting with Russian envoys. Instead he made the case that it was Comey’s behavior, not the Russian Federation investigation itself, that Trump meant had generated “pressure”: “By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation”.
The Washington Post reported Friday afternoon that federal investigators were looking at a senior White House official as a “significant person of interest”. There was an additional sensitivity here too, because many Democrats blamed Comey for Trump’s election, so he didn’t want any shows of closeness between the two that might reinforce a perception that he had put a thumb on the scale in Trump’s favor.
Trump has called the furore since he fired Comey a “witch hunt” and insisted there was no contact between his campaign and Russian Federation.
Trump met with the Russians on May 10, the day after he fired Comey.
President Trump’s multi-city overseas trip is meant to bolster relations with Muslim and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
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.
Trump also plans to make an address to the Arab World while in Saudi Arabia and make his debut in global summitry at meetings of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders and leaders of the Group of Seven major industrialised democracies.
Getting ready for my big foreign trip.
The Times cited a document summarizing the meeting which it said was provided by a government official.
“This is a thorough investigation of what happened in the 2016 election, and it can go anywhere”, said Republican representative Mark Walker of North Carolina.
But, wait, there was more: Comey, the Senate Intelligence Committee said Friday evening, has agreed to publicly testify before it some time after Memorial Day.