Trump on Thursday lashed out at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election, tweeting that it was "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
The New York Times reported that Trump called ousted FBI Director Comey "crazy" and "a real nut job" during a May meeting with Russian officials at the White House - and said firing the top cop had relieved "great pressure" on him.
Earlier this week, the Times reported that Comey kept detailed memos of his conversations with Trump, including one from a February meeting in which Trump suggested he "let go" of the investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser who resigned the day after the president's meeting with Comey.
Administration officials including Spicer, Vice President Mike Pence and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway initially argued that Comey's dismissal had "nothing to do" with the FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the US election, which includes looking into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian operatives.
These two revelations taken together likely spell trouble for a president who has gone to great lengths to argue that he, personally, is not now under FBI investigation.
"That's taken off." Trump's Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak came one day after Comey was sacked. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump allegedly said to the Russian envoys.
Trump has said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation "hurts our country terribly".
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Trump has said he plans to nominate a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director soon, and that had been expected before his departure Friday afternoon on his first foreign trip as president.
"The committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", Burr, a Republican, said in a statement.
If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.
He says he asked career Justice Department lawyers to review the memo.
House members leaving a briefing by the deputy attorney general on the probe of connections between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's presidential campaign say they're frustrated at not getting answers.
In Rosenstein's meetings with lawmakers, he reiterated the scathing critique laid out in his memo concerning Comey's handling of the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server, including Comey's July news conference announcing that the FBI would not recommend charges. The Times had not seen the memo, which they said was unclassified, but parts of it had been read to their reporter.
When asked about the Justice Department appointing Mueller as Special Counsel, the President deflected the question.