Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump said firing Comey relieved 'great pressure'

The committee's chairman, Sen.

The appointment has drawn generally favourable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well. Mark Warner, announced Friday that Comey will testify in an open setting before the committee. The date has not been set.

The Judiciary Committee had also invited Comey to testify, but the leaders of that panel said Friday that Comey had declined their invitation.

First 100 days of President Trump Fri, March 24, 2017 President Donald Trump is making a significant impact on global politics during his first term. "He was insane, a real nut job", Mr Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by a USA official.

The hearing will take place after the May 29 Memorial Day holiday.

Comey has not spoken publicly since President Donald Trump abruptly fired him less than two weeks ago amid his agency's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump camapaign and Russian officials.

She said it's a "ridiculous statement" for Trump to make and results in "elevating the Russians as his confidante at the expense of our justice system". News reports that Comey had written memos about his conversations with Trump since January have fueled that aspect of the probe. The adviser under scrutiny is not named, but described as someone close to Trump.

The BBC's Gary O'Donoghue, in Washington, says the White House has chosen to interpret the president's words as relating to the national interest rather than to himself.

Separately the New York Times reported that Trump boasted to Russian officials at a White House meeting last week that firing Comey relieved "great pressure" the president faced from a law-enforcement probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered a statement that did not dispute Trump's quotes and instead presented them as the president talking frankly about the "pressure" Comey had put on Trump's diplomatic responsibilities.

The Times reported that the document has been circulated as the meeting's official account, read to the newspaper by one official and its general points confirmed by another.

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians - zero", Trump told reporters.

Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke reported today that an unnamed White House official said the reports seem like a "coordinated attack" on the president by the media. "I also expect Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election".

On a day the administration hoped that Trump could leave scandalous allegations at home as he began his first trip overseas as president, the development was unwelcome at the White House.

Mr Trump met with the Russian diplomats on May 10, the day after he fired Mr Comey. Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed to the "very strong" recommendation from Rosenstein. Joe Lieberman was among his top choices.

The president departed Friday afternoon on a four-country, nine-day tour of the Middle East and Europe.

Trump also plans to make an address to the Arab World while in Saudi Arabia and make his debut in global summitry at meetings of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders and leaders of the Group of Seven major industrialised democracies. He maintained that Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe was "wrong and unfair". But Trump later acknowledged in an interview with NBC that the Russian Federation investigation was a factor.

"He refused to answer questions and he just kept pushing off everything onto Mueller", said Democratic representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona. Earlier this week, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take over the federal investigation in an effort to re-establish independence from the White House.

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