Comey to testify in public before Senate Intelligence Committee
- Author: Leroy Wright May 21, 2017,
May 21, 2017, 5:09
"He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to official documents cited by the New York Times.
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the vice chairman and ranking Democrat on the committee, said the ex-FBI head "deserves an opportunity to tell his story".
Both reports come at the end of a week chock-full of Russia-related reports.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the president's rhetoric part of his deal-making. "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation", he said.
The New York Times has reported that Trump told Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak 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. Rather, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told the Times the pressure Trump was referring to was on his administration's "ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation". But he made clear it was not his intention for Trump or other White House officials to use the document to justify firing Comey, which is what they have done.
The details of his comments to the Russians would seem to bolster theories Mr Trump fired Mr Comey in an effort to choke off the Russia investigation. That meeting took place the day after Comey's firing.
The President also reiterated that he was not personally under investigation.
The president himself labeled the ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation probe a "witch hunt" this week after the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to oversee it in the wake of Comey's firing.
The Times said the official documents were based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office on May 10 - the day after Comey was sacked.
But Trump said later that he had already made a decision to let Comey go.
Comey's abrupt sacking by President Donald Trump triggered a political firestorm with an angry opposition calling for an appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged Russian influence in last year's general elections.
"If these White House documents in fact exist memorializing the President's statements to the Russians, the Oversight Committee needs to obtain copies immediately", he continued.