New Russia probe leaks threaten to derail Trump's foreign trip

Rosenstein's briefing also comes after the decision he made earlier this week to appoint Mueller to be special counsel in the Justice Department's probe of Russian meddling in the USA election and any possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's presidential campaign past year.

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting - the day after he fired Comey - reinforces the notion that Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau's investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. "So poor in fact that, I believe - and you'd have to ask him, because I don't like to speak for other people - but I believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter", Trump said.

When Stephanopoulos asked whether Trump's comments seemed appropriate, McMaster responded: "As you know it's very hard to take a few lines, to take a paragraph out of what are what appear to be notes of that meeting".

Another 55% said Trump's disclosure made them feel "not confident" with his ability to handle highly classified information, while almost as many (52%) said the disclosure made them feel "not confident" in the President's ability to keep the country safe from terrorism.

The Trump administration has long had an antagonistic relationship with members of the press, and Trump has floated in recent days the possibility of ending daily White House press briefings. While Rosenstein sharply criticized Comey's handling of the Clinton email server probe in his memo to Trump, the President himself heaped praise on Comey during the campaign for his actions.

In one of them, Comey wrote that Trump had asked him to end the FBI's investigation into former national security advisor Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Mueller, who served as FBI director between September, 2001 and September, 2013, will have the authority to investigate whether the Russian government colluded with individuals associated with Trump's campaign and to prosecute federal crimes uncovered in the probe.

After days of political tumult in Washington, the Justice Department announced the appointment on Thursday of a special counsel to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign. However the White House said there would be no announcement Friday.

The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and the Justice Department's involvement in that decision.

In a speech in Baltimore this week, Rosenstein said he didn't spent much time worrying about the controversy.

The White House says the notion that Trump fired Comey for investigating his and his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation is absurd.

The question over the need for a special prosecutor consumed Washington this week - along with other Trump-related scandals - even as congressional leaders tried to shift reporters' focus to other matters such as healthcare. He said Rosenstein made clear that Mueller would have the freedom take the probe wherever he needs.

  • Carolyn Briggs