Trump's Federal Bureau of Investigation comments to Russians were aimed at cooperation: aides

When President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the immediate speculation (particularly from the left) was that he had done so to thwart any investigation Comey had begun into the president's campaign and transition teams and any connection they had with the Russian government.

Allegations of Trump campaign aides colluding in Russian meddling have dogged this White House from nearly the start, and even the president, who has been insistent about his innocence, said last week he can only speak for himself. The former director agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee after the Memorial Day holiday.

In Sunday show appearances, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they will press Comey in hearings as to whether he ever felt that Trump tried to interfere with his Federal Bureau of Investigation work.

Rubio said White House officials had told him they had no transcripts nor notes of Trump's meeting with Russian officials but "apparently someone has discussed them, or leaked them".

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House committee probing Russian Federation, said leakers shouldn't be tolerated. In recent months, the former campaign communications adviser has repeatedly taken to social media to reject accusations of links between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign.

Flynn is expected to cite Fifth Amendment protections in a letter Monday to the Senate intelligence committee, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

"Is it handled the way Watergate was, where drip, drip, drip, every day more and more more, or do we handle it like Ronald Reagan handled Iran-Contra?" he said.

Trump, however, said it "wouldn't be a bad question to ask".

During his meetings with lawmakers, Mr Rosenstein said that his conversations with Mr Sessions revealed his long-held belief that Mr Comey should be replaced, based on his public statements related to the investigation of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, beginning in July a year ago.

They also said the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel has created a legally risky environment for him to cooperate with the Senate panel's investigation. Instead, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has called the president's rhetoric part of his deal-making, contending that Comey had created "unnecessary pressure" on Trump's ability to negotiate with Russian Federation on a range of issues.

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Tillerson if Trump was "telling the Russians that firing Comey was taking off legal and political pressure?"

Michael Caputo says the House Intelligence Committee asked him for a voluntary interview and for documents that could help its investigation.

Trump: "Well, I want to just start by saying hopefully, they're going to have to fear nothing, ultimately". The California Democrat said public hearings should ferret out what has been a flurry of apparently contradictory comments by numerous parties involved.

With Trump himself in the Mideast on his first foreign trip as president, investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign - and allegations of Trump campaign collaboration - showed no sign of slackening in Washington.

"I really think that rather than have all these memorandums and issues circulating around, that we need to put the facts before the American people", she said. "If so, that borders on a very serious charge".

The move came days after Mr. Comey testified in Capitol Hill about the FBI's probe into Russia's meddling into the elections and a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Rubio appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and CBS' "Face the Nation", Feinstein also was on CBS' "Face the Nation", and Chaffetz, Cummings and McMaster spoke on ABC's "This Week".

  • Zachary Reyes