Former FBI Director Comey to testify before Senate intel committee

A second story, from The New York Times, quotes the president telling Russian officials in a meeting earlier this month that FBI Director James Comey was "a real nut job" and his dismissal relieved "great pressure".

Trump, accompanied by wife Melania, walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will schedule the open hearing for sometime after Memorial Day.

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

Trump has faced a steady flow of controversial revelations over the past 10 days, including that he asked Comey in February to end the FBI's investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

It did not deny the Times report that Trump was critical of Comey to the Russians the day after he fired him.

According to a minute of a meeting read to the New York Times, the United States president said sacking Mr Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him.

Presumably, the pressure was lifted because Trump had just fired the "crazy" Comey, who he also allegedly described as a "real nut job".

"I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader", he said, expressing more direct support for the firing than he had in his more measured memo, which stopped short of endorsing a particular action but rather outlined what he called Comey's "serious mistakes" and noted that any possible decision to dismiss Comey "should not be taken lightly". "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", he said.

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During his meetings with lawmakers, Rosenstein said that his conversations with Sessions revealed his long-held belief that Comey should be replaced based on his public statements related to the investigation of Hillary Clinton, beginning in July 2016.

Prior to his appointment, Mueller had worked at Wilmer Hale, a law firm with clients that include former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

The possibility of a cover-up is the third branch of an investigation that began as a look at Russian meddling in the election and broadened into whether members of the Trump campaign had cooperated in that efforts, according to the briefing, members of Congress said. When Comey was appointed to succeed Mueller as FBI Director, both men appeared together and were effusive in their praise of one another.

Chaffetz has scheduled a hearing on Comey's firing next Wednesday, although it's not clear if Comey will testify. Asked whether that included Rosenstein, he said, "I don't think he did a lot to bolster our confidence in him". Democrats were simultaneously heartened by the selection of a respected former FBI director and prosecutor to lead an investigation that they feared had been tarnished by Trump's interference, while also concerned about the possibility of losing their grip on the information coming out of their own investigations.

"This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration", Moulton said.

Rosenstein made it clear to the lawmakers that he drafted his memo only after Trump told him of his plans to dismiss the Federal Bureau of Investigation director. "My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination", he said. But he added, "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it". Rosenstein denounced that decision as "profoundly wrong and unfair". Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.

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