Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Firing 'nut job' Comey took pressure off

Taken at face value, the report does not appear to be referring to Flynn: the Post specifically said the person of interest is a "current" member of the president's team, who is close to Trump. Trump told NBC two days after firing Comey, however, that he meant to do it "regardless" of Rosenstein's recommendation. Figures such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page had Trump's ear in 2016, and while Flynn was briefly part of the president's White House operation, none of these figures now has a job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Asked Thursday at a press conference if he had ever asked Comey to not investigate his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, Trump issued a blanket denial: "No, no, next question". But White House spokesman Sean Spicer has called the president's rhetoric part of his deal-making, contending that Comey had created "unnecessary pressure" on Trump's ability to negotiate with Russian Federation on a range of issues.

In closed-door meetings with lawmakers on Thursday and Friday, Rosenstein said he wrote the memo after Trump told him one day before the May 9 firing that he wanted to dismiss Comey.

The Department of Justice appointed a special counsel to spearhead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election - as well as possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The president's son-in-law Jared Kushner is among those whose contacts with the Russian government have come under scrutiny.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey is to testify in front of cameras following his shock sacking, it has been announced, as a series of damaging revelations pile further pressure on embattled U.S. president, Donald Trump.

Responding to The New York Times report, press secretary Sean Spicer said: "As the president has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity". The House Oversight Committee sent a letter requesting the memo referenced in the report no later than May 24.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress Friday he stands by a memo he wrote bluntly criticizing Comey.

"Before I discuss the events of the past two weeks, I want to provide some background about my previous relationship with former Director Comey", Rosenstein said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks released to reporters after the briefing.

Obama Apologizes, Trump Makes Deals
Despite reservations from Saudi Arabia and Israel, his administration went ahead with the Iran nuclear deal. Trump is to travel Tuesday to Bethlehem to visit with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

He says his memo is not a finding of official misconduct and is not a statement of reasons to justify Comey's firing.

Senators said that Rosenstein steered clear of specifics while making clear that Mueller has wide latitude to pursue the investigation wherever it leads, potentially including criminal charges.

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment but Democrats and even many Republicans have generally welcomed it.

Warner said Comey's testimony would help "answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President". "This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration". But he added, "I wrote it".

"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.

White House aides initially said that Trump fired him on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, but the President later contradicted his aides and said he had already planned to fire Comey. But some Democratic lawmakers have emerged troubled from the briefings, in which Rosenstein explained his decision to appoint the special counsel.

Trump, combative and complaining, fell short Thursday in trying to resolve investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Asked point-blank if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous".

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