Trump Told Russians He Fired 'Nut Job' Comey Because Of Investigation

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in 2013. The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Mueller will lead the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election

A photo made available by the Russian Foreign Ministry shows President Trump speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Mr Comey had been investigating whether there was collusion between Russian Federation and anyone connected to the Trump campaign during last year's election.

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.

It says the president then told Russia's foreign minister and ambassador that he "faced great pressure because of Russian Federation". He had been in contact with former Trump adviser Carter Page, though Page has said he shared only "basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents" with the Russian.

Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, although a date has not yet been set, according to the committee's chairman Senator Richard Burr. The official claims that Trump simply used the topic to segue into creating a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Lavrov regarding Syria, Ukraine and other issues by bringing up the fact that Russia interfering in the United States election caused him great political strife.

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The newspaper cited the White House's official written account of the Oval Office meeting. "I also expect that Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election", said Sen.

In addition to the Times report, a Washington Post report published around the same time this afternoon revealed that the ongoing Russian Federation probe has labeled a senior White House official as a "significant person of interest".

That's not all: McClatchy reported that Rosenstein alerted members of Congress that investigators were also examining whether administration officials engaged in a cover-up.

After the firing, associates of Comey leaked a February memo the FBI director had written describing a conversation in which Trump asked him to drop an investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn's dealings with Turkey and Russian Federation. The White House initially said that Comey was sacked following the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but Trump undercut that account in an interview on May 11 when he said he was going to fire Comey regardless of what Rosenstein suggested because the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief was a "showboat". Comey, who headed the FBI's now-criminal investigation into the same events, declined to do so. The Justice Department's newly appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller, was given the authority to investigate not only potential collusion but also related allegations, which would include obstruction of justice.

Democrats rejected Mr Trump's characterisation. The White House has denied there was collusion between the campaign and any "foreign entity".

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