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New Russia probe leaks threaten to derail Trump's foreign trip
20 May 2017, 01:58 | Erica Roy
House Speaker Paul Ryan Drew Angerer Getty Images
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.
The White House didn't confirm or deny either report, in a pair of statements sent together from Air Force One.
Washington, May 20 Sacked FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before a Congressional committee in an open session about alleged Russian interference in the USA presidential polls previous year.
"I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was insane, a real nut job", Trump has reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office on May 10, the day after he dismissed Comey, according to the document.
The report cited notes from a May 10 Oval Office meeting - the day after Mr Trump fired Mr Comey.
Asked about the Times report, Spicer said of the former FBI chief, "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". "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations", said Spicer.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
Among Trump's senior White House advisers are several former campaign officials, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway. Comey's October 28, 2016 letter to the FBI announcing he was reopening the investigation "flouted rules and deeply ingrained traditions", and guaranteed some people would question the FBI's role in the USA presidential election, Rosenstein continued. Other news reports also said that, during that same meeting, Trump discussed classified counter-terrorism information with the Russians.
Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment of a special counsel, a prosecutor with wide authority to investigate Russias interference and other potential crimes uncovered. The Post also reported that while the initial investigation was into coordination between Trump officials and Russian Federation, sources said it has expanded to include potential financial crimes committed by those close to Trump.
White House officials did not deny either story, but only stressed that Trump and his staff had no collusion with Russian Federation.
Wyden also said he was looking into ways to obtain documents related to dealings with Russian Federation by Flynn.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who on Wednesday appointed Mueller to lead the new iteration of the investigation, reportedly said the conversation where Trump asked Comey to back off of the Flynn investigation had moved the probe into new directions.
Trump and his team planned the trip as an opportunity for the US President to unify Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders against extremism, a senior administration official said.
Mr Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Mr Comey has told associates, Mr Trump asked for his loyalty.
In a statement, Warner said he hoped the testimony would "help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President".
House members and senators said Rosenstein in his briefings steered clear of specifics in answering questions about his appointment of Mueller but made clear the former FBI director, will have wide latitude to pursue the investigation, potentially including criminal charges.
Panel Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner said they will schedule the hearing for after Memorial Day.
"Bob Mueller doesn't have, for example, the same broader responsibility to get into the kind of financial entanglements that I have especially focused on", Wyden said.
Trump brags to Russians about firing 'nut job' Comey
He added, "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it". The Justice Department on Friday issued the text of Rosenstein's opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.
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