Says Who? WaPo, NYT Blast Trump on Comey, Russia Through Anonymous Reports

No date has been set as yet for Comey's public appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but it likely will be next month, the committee said.

"I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", said Sen.

The New York Times has reported that Trump asked Comey for his "loyalty" during a private dinner and requested he drop the investigation into Michael T. Flynn, his former national security adviser, who is under scrutiny regarding his ties to Russian Federation and Turkey.

"I faced great pressure because of Russia", Trump told Russian officials who visited him in the Oval Office the day after he fired Comey, according to a Friday New York Times report. "He was insane, a real nut job", Mr Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by a U.S. official.

Contacted by the Times, White House press secretary Sean Spice did not deny Trump had made the statements, saying Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing" of the Russian Federation probe had put "unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation".

The White House has been thrown into turmoil by a succession of stunning allegations against the President this week, including that he may have obstructed justice by asking Mr. Comey to drop an investigation into one of his top advisors.

The Justice Department on Friday released the text of Rosenstein's opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.

The Senate and House intelligence committees are also probing possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The news comes after Trump was hit by embarrassing leaks suggesting that a senior adviser was a "person of interest" in a probe of possible collusion with Russia during last year's election campaign, and that Trump had boasted to Russian officials of firing the man heading the investigation.

Trump acknowledged, in an interview with NBC News, that he had made a decision to fire Comey before reading the memo by Rosenstein. Rosenstein said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader". The investigation is now in the hands of a special counsel, as well as multiple Congressional committees.

Comey had courted controversy during the 2016 presidential polls when he revealed a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton's email use, which the Democrats claimed had hurt her chances of becoming the president.

The hearing will be scheduled after the May 29 Memorial Day holiday, the statement said. Democrats were simultaneously heartened by the selection of a respected former FBI director and prosecutor to lead an investigation that they feared had been tarnished by Trump's interference, while also concerned about the possibility of losing their grip on the information coming out of their own investigations.

"Jarrett writes at Fox News: "[Mueller] and James Comey are good friends and former colleagues who worked hand-in-hand for years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The members said he said he'd been told of the decision to fire Comey before he was asked to write the memo.

  • Larry Hoffman