Trump says firing 'nut job' Comey took off pressure

The New York Times reported that Trump told Russian officials that Comey is a "nut job", and that dismissing him meant the pressure of the FBI's Russia probe has been "taken off".

Mr Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Mr Comey has told associates, Mr Trump asked for his loyalty.

After Comey was sacked, it emerged that he had kept detailed memos of encounters with the president that he deemed improper.

However, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Comey declined their invitation to testify before the panel over the circumstances surrounding his abrupt removal.

"I never was insane about Trump", J. Brien Comey told USA Today's affiliate in North Jersey.

"The ability of Congress to call people who may be witnesses in an investigation conducted by Mr. Mueller, is going to severely restrict what we can do", Graham told reporters Thursday.

Comey's father said his son never told him he had been fired by the President.

The conversation took place when Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to Washington in the Oval Office the day after the firing.

"I just fired the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation". Meanwhile, CNN reported that the Russian officials bragged that they could use former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to influence Trump. It says the president then told Russia's foreign minister and ambassador that he "faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".

Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary, did not dispute the account of the Oval Office statements.

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"Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader", Rosenstein said.

That flies in the face of the White House's public insistence that Comey's dismissal was not linked to his ongoing investigation.

The latest report from the Post, citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, undercuts Trump's insistence that his campaign had nothing to do with the Kremlin. According to the daily, a Trump Administration official defended president's purported conversation with the Russians as he wanted to a create a "sense of obligation" with them and to coax concessions out of them on Syria, Ukraine, and other issues. In March, Kushner volunteered to answer lawmakers' questions about meetings he had with Russian officials during the transition. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed his belief that the probe into Russian interference and any surrounding impropriety, may now include a criminal investigation.As far as the Department of Justice is concerned, that investigation is now under the exclusive purview of Special Counsel and ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller on Wednesday to the position, reports CNN. The White House did not deny the claim.

According to one source with knowledge, Comey's relationship with Trump was uncomfortable from the start. But Rosenstein, who has only recently been confirmed to be the Justice Department's second-highest ranking official, left no doubt that it was voluntary.

First, it's crucial to distinguish between a "special counsel", such as this is, and an "independent counsel".

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel has drawn generally favorable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well.

The first four months of the Trump Administration have generated many real headlines that could have appeared first in a satirical publication such as the Onion or The New Yorker's own the Borowitz Report.

"If any president tries to impede an investigation - any president, no matter who it is - by interfering with the FBI, yes, that would be problematic. This is a ridiculous statement for him to make", Pelosi said. "As I said, Nixonian", said Sen.

She said subjects of the investigation could later argue that its results cannot be trusted, but she believes the argument would not stand up in court.

  • Larry Hoffman