While White House staffers solidified the details of Trump's first foreign trip, sensitive information apparently poured out of the administration like a sieve to major United States news outlets regarding the president's handling of the former FBI director and the ongoing law enforcement investigation into his campaign.
The Times report on Friday afternoon is just the latest bombshell story over the past week and adds to mounting headaches for the White House just as Trump has departed for his first foreign trip as president.
"This new report that President Trump openly admitted to the Russians that he "faced great pressure" from the FBI's criminal investigation that was "taken off" when he fired Director Comey is astonishing - and extremely troubling", Cummings said. "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation. He was insane, a real nut job", Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. Previous reports indicate that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, are included in the investigation.
The FBI's investigation is focused on whether and to what extent Trump campaign and transition team officials were in contact with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election.
Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to Washington in the Oval Office the day after he fired Comey.
The White House says the notion that Trump fired Comey for investigating his and his campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation is absurd.
Trump lawyers up as Russian Federation probe intensifies
Although he piled on Comey in the memo and called for new leadership, he stopped short of calling for his firing. Part of the reason was that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recently recused himself from the investigation.
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.
The development comes after claims emerged that Mr Trump told Russian officials at the White House that firing Mr Comey relieved "great pressure" the President was facing from an ongoing probe into Russia and the U.S. presidential election.
Rosenstein declined to discuss the timing of the memo and who had asked him to write it, saying the memo and its role in Comey's firing were likely to be part of the investigation, which will now be led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, whom Rosenstein appointed special counsel on Wednesday.
The report was published as Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia on the first leg of a trip overseas that the White House hopes will shift attention away from the political firestorm triggered by his firing last week of former FBI Director James Comey. News reports that Comey had written memos about his conversations with Trump since January have fueled that aspect of the probe.
"Director Comey was very unpopular with most people", he said Thursday at a news conference.
As special counsel, Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters", according to the Justice Department order Rosenstein signed.