Trump denies telling Comey to back off Flynn investigation

Posted May 20, 2017

Combative public hearings. Damaging leaks. Observers also note that the White House routinely shared intel with other countries.

Russian Federation has denied USA intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favor.

Trump tweeted early Thursday that he was the victim of a "witch hunt" and expressed anger that a special counsel hadn't ever been appointed to investigate Hillary Clinton or former president Barack Obama for their "illegal acts".

The Times reported Trump noted the Russia investigation as he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak of his decision to fire Comey. Rosenstein threatened to resign from the Justice Department because of the explanation that White House officials were giving reporters about the firing, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

It has overshadowed Republicans' domestic agenda, and now, the president embarks Friday on his first overseas trip.

"Director Comey was very unpopular with most people", Mr Trump said.

But any break in attention to the topic is likely to be short-lived.

Mr Rosenstein did, however, emphasise to the senators the independent authority that the new special counsel - former FBI director and federal prosecutor Robert Mueller III - has in the Russian investigation.

Clearly unaccustomed to many aspects of his new job, and hell-bent on relying on glad-handing and smarm to curry favor and "make deals", Trump repeatedly tried to get Comey on his side, via, among other things, a dinner where he asked Comey to pledge his loyalty, all while Comey was overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the election.

During Thursday's news conference, Mr Trump contradicted both his own account and that of Mr Rosenstein. They include firing Mr. Comey and allegedly telling him to shut down a portion of the investigation involving Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. They wake up every day and are continually slapped in the face and it doesn't look like it will stop. But GOP lawmakers have grown increasingly anxious since Trump fired Comey, who had been leading the bureau's probe - and after Comey associates said he had notes from a meeting in which Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into Flynn's Russian Federation ties.

Comey reportedly told Trump that if he wanted details on the FBI's investigations, he ought to contact the Justice Department and follow proper procedures.

Asked whether he urged Comey to ease up on the Flynn investigation, Trump said at a news conference, "No, no", before ordering the media to move on to the "next question".

For Republicans, it is a crisis that will drag on.

Mr Mueller, who will have wide-ranging powers, said simply: "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability". "The Republicans have to prepare for a long period of torture".

Critics said Trump fired Comey as an effort to prevent embarrassing information from getting out.

But Mr. Trump spotted Mr. Comey and called him out. I think the people in the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be very, very thrilled. "What if it doesn't come in 2018, especially since midterm elections are approaching?"

"But when you're six foot, eight inches tall, it's hard to blend in forever, and Trump ultimately singled him out - and did so with the most damning faint praise possible: "Oh, and there's Jim". Midterm elections, which have lower turnout than presidential votes, often hinge on which party's voters are more motivated to show up - and Democrats appear to hold the advantage in that regard. The investigation is now in the hands of a special counsel, as well as multiple congressional committees.

"How can you subpoena somebody to come to Congress when they're under criminal investigation?"

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. Neither process is likely to conclude quickly, Prof.