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Trump told Russians that firing 'nut job' Comey eased pressure from investigation
20 May 2017, 02:06 | Erica Roy
The Times cited a document summarizing the meeting which it said was provided by a government official.
He also reportedly said, "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".
The White House executive summary "contained Mr. Trump's comments, was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting", the Times said.
By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russias actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia, Spicer said.
In a statement, he said 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. He 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". (Trump wrote in Comey's termination letter that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he was not being investigated, assurances that sources close to Comey denied he ever made.) But, as the Timesreported, the meeting wasn't only a matter of curious timing. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations". Several congressional Republicans said Wednesday that if Trump did suggest that Comey "let this go" regarding Flynn's Russian contacts, it was probably just a joke, light banter.
The memo focused on Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, particularly the FBI director's decision to divulge details to the public at various junctures during her presidential campaign against Trump.
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. But the new claims could make that reset more hard. "Because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such bad things about Director Comey".
The reports came just as Trump flew to Saudi Arabia to kick off his first foreign trip as United States leader - highlighting how the controversy over his team's alleged links to Moscow is dogging his fledgling presidency.
The memo is said to have been written by Mr Comey the day after Mr Flynn resigned. "Regardless of the recommendation, I was going to fire Comey".
The news comes after it was last week announced former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller had been appointed special counsel to investigate possible coordination between Russian Federation and Mr Trump's campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, in an effort to re-establish independence from the White House.
Meanwhile, Trump, who has denied pressuring Flynn, tweeted that he was the subject of a "witch hunt".
"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", Trump said at a luncheon with a group of television news anchors.
Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak was controversial before news of talk about Comey ever came out.
Asked point-blank if hed done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: I think its totally ridiculous.
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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US President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia
In addition, Comey agreed to testify at an open hearing of the Senate intelligence committee in the near future, the panel said. Trump and his motorcade then made their way to his hotel for a few hours of downtime before beginning the day's meetings.