Trump to Russians: Firing Comey Took 'Great Pressure' Off

But Mr. Issa did say there is "great consensus" between Democrats and Republicans that the Russians need to be punished for interfering the US presidential election in November.

The White House initially said Trump fired Comey because of a recommendation by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the official is someone close to President Donald Trump, but would not further identify the person.

The Times was read a memo chronicling Trump's meeting with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador to Washington in the Oval Office on May 10, the day after Comey was sacked.

"There is no collusion between, certainly, myself and my campaign - but I can always speak for myself - and the Russians", Trump told reporters at a White House news conference on Thursday. Trump was telling Mr. Lavrov of the "pressure" he was now under.

Trump has said repeatedly that he is not personally under investigation.

"President has never asked Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn".

A senior White House adviser has been identified as a "significant person of interest" in the investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, The Washington Post reported Friday. The adviser under scrutiny is not named, but described as someone close to Trump.

The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump told Russian diplomats that firing the "nut job" Federal Bureau of Investigation director had relieved "great pressure" on him.

The NY Times cited a document read to the paper by an American official. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump told them, according to the Times.

Trump met with the Russians on May 10, the day after he fired Comey.

The reports come as the President leaves for his first foreign trip. "It's backfiring on them", Arizona resident Nadia Larsen said of media reports about possible collusion with Russian Federation or Mr Trump's conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump boarded Air Force One Friday without making any comment about the future leadership of the law enforcement agency. "As I said, Nixonian", said Sen. Joe Lieberman was among his top choices.

The Justice Department on Friday issued a transcript of Rosenstein's remarks. Wittes said Comey was determined to not engage in such an embrace.

The central question at that blockbuster hearing will be whether Comey believed the President was trying to interfere with his investigation.

On Thursday, Rosenstein told the full Senate at a closed briefing that he knew the president would fire Comey before he wrote his memo. Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Trott says lawmakers pressed Rosenstein on the memo but he declined to respond.

The California Democrat did say, however, that Congress will want some oversight as the probe continues.

"He thought he had gotten through and not been noticed or singled out and that he was going to get away without an individual interaction", Wittes said Comey told him.

Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of MA echoed that sentiment, saying there was "considerable frustration" and that "he refused to answer a lot of questions".

He says that even his "enemies" recognize his innocence, and he's declaring himself the most unfairly hounded president in history.

  • Zachary Reyes