Trump slams Comey, once more dismisses Russian Federation probe as "witch hunt"

Claire McCaskill said that Rosenstein, who has come under scrutiny for being perceived as the inspiration for Trump firing Comey, told the senators that Trump was planning on terminating Comey before the deputy attorney general wrote his letter of recommendation. Trump aides initially pointed to a memo written by Rosenstein that had been critical of a number of Comey actions prior to Trump coming into office.

Rosenstein met with all USA senators in one of the most protected rooms on Capitol Hill, "the SCIF", or a sensitive compartmented information facility.

The question on everyone's mind has been: could this get the ball rolling toward President Trump's impeachment? "And numerous questions he declined to answer came down to his concern of whether he might interfere with the investigation by Robert Mueller".

In his first substantive comments about the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, President Donald Trump denied that his campaign had been involved in any collusion with Moscow, as he declared that the probe "divides the country". That appointment and Democratic pleas for more gave Republicans a fresh political talking point Thursday.

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.

Though many believe the special counsel will conduct a proper probe, some say there's still a need for more outside review.

"Congress has been pretty much sidelined". "O$3 ne of the big losers in this decision is the public", Graham said and added that he anxious lawmakers would have trouble getting responses to subpoenas delivered to potential witnesses or convincing them to testify in a public congressional hearing because they'd be more likely to plead the fifth to avoid incriminating themselves. "It could well be treated as criminal interference into an investigation".

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Comey's successor He said he would announce Mr Comey's successor "very soon".

The focus on leaks has also been embraced by Republicans in Congress, who have urged reporters to pay more attention to the source of their stories - a familiar strategy to deflect the conversation away from bad news. That's something that, perhaps inadvertently, Graham nodded to.

"We're going to have a director that's going to be outstanding".

"He was here a month ago and he sure didn't talk to somebody who thought he would get fired", he said. "That is a train wreck waiting to happen".

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a former CT attorney general, told reporters, "The special prosecutor is doing an investigation of criminal allegations that are extremely serious, including possible obstruction of justice". Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he is determined to press forward with public hearings. "As to Mr. [James] Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, coming before the committee, if I were Mr. Mueller, I would jealously guard the witness pool". "The scope of the investigation is still the same".

Yet a special counsel appointment increasingly seemed the only viable option, particularly following this week's revelation that Comey took notes on a February meeting with Trump in which he said the president had asked him to shut down an investigation into Michael Flynn, the administration's former national security adviser. "That's a benefit to us", Lankford said.

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