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Trump branded Comey 'nut job' as investigation points at White House
20 May 2017, 02:01 | Erica Roy
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US President Donald Trump has told senior Russian officials that his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey had eased "great pressure" on him from the probe over his campaign's ties with Russia, a media report said.
A senior White House adviser is a significant person of interest in the law enforcement investigation of possible ties between Donald Trump's election campaign and Russian Federation, the Washington Post said on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
"This is an inflection point in the entire Russian Federation collusion investigation", he told MSNBC.
Comey's decision ended more than a week of speculation about whether he would appear publicly to make his case since he was sacked by Trump on 9 May, and underscores how the probe is accelerating.
And The New York Times reported that the president had told Russian officials he felt the dismissal of his Federal Bureau of Investigation director had relieved great pressure on him.
Donald Trump reportedly told his Russian guests that firing Mr Comey had relieved the "great pressure" his administration was under because of the Russia investigation. "He was insane, a real nut job", Mr Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by a U.S. official.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the account.
"Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader", Rosenstein said in prepared remarks for appearances before House and Senate lawmakers that were released Friday by the Justice Department.
Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "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".
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.
During the meeting - in which Trump allegedly revealed classified information provided by Israel - the president reportedly said Comey's firing a day earlier had had relieved him of "great pressure" over his ties to Russian Federation.
The global trip, which includes stops in the Middle East and Europe, comes at an opportune time for the White House, which has endured a week full of bombshell news stories that threaten to engulf the administration.
This is not the first time Trump's White House has offered an explanation for an event that was later directly contradicted.
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 United States presidential polls a year ago. 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.
The White House has denied there was collusion between the campaign and any "foreign entity".
Even so, the deputy attorney general added that a memo he wrote sharply criticizing Comey's handling of the Clinton probe was a "candid internal memorandum" that wasn't intended as "a statement of reasons to justify" the director's dismissal.
"I wrote it. I believe it".
Trump has repeatedly slammed the FBI and congressional investigations as a "hoax" and blamed disgruntled officials at intelligence agencies for leaking information related to the probes.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) accused President Trump on Friday of being more open with Russian officials than he has been with the American people.
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.
Trump should thank Rosenstein for naming a special counsel
If Mueller wraps up the probe relatively quickly and finds no damning evidence, that would also be a boon for the White House. President Donald Trump's inner circle has included white supremacists and potentially compromised foreign players.