Rod Rosenstein: Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump wanted James Comey gone

Trump's terse denial followed reports by Reuters and other media about a memo written by Comey alleging that Trump made the request to close down the investigation into Michael Flynn and Russian Federation in February. He has a strong background in law enforcement and investigation and is respected on both sides of the political aisle. But it has also been seen by courts as a way to hide information that is pertinent to an investigation, and the privilege has sometimes been rejected and is not considered absolute.

One striking piece of news emerged from Rosenstein's briefing: He told senators that he had already known Comey was getting fired even as he wrote the memo that Trump cited as a significant justification for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's dismissal. "He was insane, a real nut job", President Trump said in a meeting with Russian officials last week, according to the Times report on a document summarizing the meeting. 'I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation.

The Times said the document was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the accuracy of that account.

"The Committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former (FBI) director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections", Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Committee, said.

Public approval of Trump has dropped to its lowest level since his inauguration, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday. The remaining 6 percent had "mixed feelings". It appears to be another incidence of Trump claiming he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, contradicting the official reason given by the White House.

As for the Russian Federation investigation itself, we were ready and advocated in this space for a special counsel two months ago because we believed Congress had proven itself incapable of the independence necessary for a proper probe. During that lunch, Comey described his efforts to keep the President and the White House at arm's length. 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.

As for the Times report, Corke reported that the White House is saying that the real story is not the content of the leaked conversations, but the fact that someone in the White House or intelligence community is leaking classified conversations. Dean served during the Watergate scandal and famously testified about how he told President Richard M. Nixon that there was a cancer growing on his presidency.

The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he was supportive of investigations in Congress but expressed concern about the "proliferation" of hearings.

Despite his various attempts to bring Comey into the fold, Trump continued to receive resistance.

"This is what OBSTRUCTION looks like: 'I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".

"He refused to answer questions and he just kept pushing off everything onto Mueller", said Democratic representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona. "No, next question", he told reporters during the East Room news conference yesterday.

He added, "I chose the issues to include in my memorandum".

However the White House said there would be no announcement Friday. "So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn't notice him camouflaged against the wall".

BENJAMIN WITTES: Trump fired Jim Comey because the most unsafe thing in the world, if you're Donald Trump, is a person who tells the truth, is dogged, you can't control.

Vanessa Coleman

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