Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Graham believes Russian Federation probe 'considered a criminal investigation'

Comey wrote a confidential memo about Trump's request shortly after the meeting, according to Comey associates who have read the memo and described it to reporters. That explanation was contradicted by the president himself, who told NBC News last week that he chose to fire Comey "regardless" of the memo.

But Trump nearly immediately undermined that explanation in an interview with NBC News, saying, "Regardless of the recommendation I was going to fire Comey".

President Donald Trump later acknowledged that he had already thought about dismissing Comey and that he was perturbed by "this Russian Federation thing", fueling criticism that Rosenstein's memo merely served as a pretext so the president could fire a law enforcement official conducting an aggressive investigation into his campaign.

Comey was in the midst of leading the Russian Federation investigation, and Trump's abrupt dismissal of him is likely what prompted Rosenstein to appoint Mueller to restore a sense of independence to the investigation.

"I am concerned that Director Mueller will still be subject to the supervision of the Trump administration leadership at the Justice Department", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday.

"I believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter", Trump said.

The session will be the first time Trump may be questioned in a public forum since a series of controversies that began with the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey last week.

"This shuts the whole thing down", said one Republican source, speaking on Congressional efforts to investigate Comey's discussions with Trump. "So one of the big losers in this decision is the public", Graham said.

When President Trump tweeted this morning, "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", Senator Amy Klobuchar quickly responded tweeting, "This is a truth hunt".

"Honor that decision, cooperate where it is appropriate, fight back where you have the legal ability to do so", Graham said.

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He called the probe a "witch hunt" and "totally ridiculous" Thursday afternoon.

Thursday's meeting was proposed by Schumer last week after Trump fired Comey. "And the need for former Director Comey to come testify in public soon is as great as ever".

She praised the appointment of Mueller, calling him "a professional" with "a boatload of integrity". "I said, 'There's no place I'd rather be'".

The goal of the special counsel probe, he said, was to determine whether there was collusion between Trump associates and Russian Federation to do so.

Senators said that Rosenstein made clear that he has ceded all authority over the investigation over to Mueller. "Consistent with the Committee's position since the beginning of or investigation, I welcome their willingness to cooperate", Burr spokeswoman Rebecca Glover said.

Trump's own timeline and rationale for firing Comey has repeatedly been amended by his administration.

"He said over and over again that Mueller is going to draw the scope of this investigation, and Mueller is going to have the resources and Mueller is not going to be interfered with by him or the Department of Justice", he said.

"I think so", said Harris, a former prosecutor. Mueller was granted broad investigatory powers, which could encompass looking into whether Trump obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

The Tennessee senator did not elaborate further on Rosenstein's briefing of senators.

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