"It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Comey's removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis".
Mueller investigation's appeared to be reaching a broadening circle of current and former officials. Welcome to the program.
The development is a major turning point in the year-old probe.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee that there were discussions at high levels about firing FBI Director James Comey even before Sessions was confirmed. Comey stopped short of directly accusing Trump of obstruction, however.
There is no evidence that the FBI ended or paused its investigation after Comey's departure. It's sort of a key act in this process of the investigation.
Accounts by Comey and other officials of their conversations with the president could become central pieces of evidence if Mueller decides to pursue an obstruction case. He also denied that he asked Comey to utter a loyalty pledge during a private Oval Office meeting before which he asked officials, including Sessions and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a top White House adviser, to leave the room.
"I know that I was sacked because something about the way I was conducting the Russian Federation investigation was putting pressure" on Trump, Comey testified.
Special counsel investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice
The Washington Post previously reported that Trump also asked Rogers and Coats to push back against the FBI's investigation. The NSA said in a statement that it will "fully cooperate with the special counsel" and declined to comment further.
"To the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate", Rogers said at the hearing, without answering whether he was asked - but not directed - to back off. The committee knows Mueller has already been briefed on Comey's memos.
"The investigation is examining possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals", the daily said.
BARRETT: It's probably a lesser understood part of this set of investigations that as they look at various people who were associates of the president both as president and when he was a candidate, they have also been looking at the finances of those folks.
The questioning could happen as early as this week. And it grows into, what did any of those Americans do in their financial matters that may also raise alarms with the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
Mr Trump's legal team said the latest leak to the media was "outrageous".
The widened Russian Federation probe could have far-reaching repercussions for Trump's presidency, transforming his closest aides into witnesses and sucking yet more political oxygen out of the West Wing.
In his compulsion to defend himself on Twitter, Trump admitted that he is under criminal investigation.