Comey Testimony Before Lawmakers in Doubt After Special Counsel Named

Donald Trump right walks with his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after speaking at a news conference in Dubuque Iowa Aug. 25 2015

Mueller is the man Rosenstein tapped Wednesday to head the U.S. Justice Department's investigation into whether anyone on Trump's campaign colluded with Russian operatives who sought to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Last week, during an interview with NBC News, Trump said he was going to terminate Comey "regardless of recommendation". However, the newly appointed special counsel reports to the deputy attorney general.

Trump said he was about to name a replacement for Comey, another move to settle the waters. Joe Lieberman was among his top choices. "Zero", Trump said, at a joint news conference on Thursday afternoon with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.

President Donald Trump, striking a defiant tone on Thursday after days of political tumult, denied colluding with Russian Federation during his 2016 campaign or asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser.

THE FACTS: Democrats have not absolved Trump on whether his campaign and Russian officials coordinated efforts previous year to disadvantage his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. "Even my enemies have said, 'There is no collusion'".

However another answer on that subject seemed both more specific and perhaps ambiguous.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" wrote Mr Trump, ignoring impeachment efforts and blistering verbal attacks on previous presidents and other political leaders.

But Mueller could nix such an appearance, wanting to keep Comey's testimony out of the public eye until the special counsel's work is done.

"Congress' ability to conduct investigations of all things Russian Federation has been severely limited", said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of SC.

However, fellow Republicans expressed hopes the move would restore some calm to a capital plunged into chaos.

"We'll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie", said Senator Tim Scott.

Comey prepared extensively for his conversations with Trump
The president's son-in-law Jared Kushner is among those whose contacts with the Russian government have come under scrutiny. The Justice Department on Friday distributed prepared remarks that Rosenstein delivered to Congress in separate briefings.

Trump has cited Rosenstein's memo on Comey as contributing to his decision to fire him, while Democrats have criticized Rosenstein for agreeing to write it.

Trump hosted a ceremony honouring law enforcement officials two days after the inauguration. The memo has not been made available to the public.

"Then he had the very poor performance on Wednesday".

Many Democrats and some Republicans have raised alarms that the president may have tried to obstruct justice by firing Comey.

Speaking in the East Room on Thursday alongside the president of Colombia, Trump said he respected Rosenstein's decision to appoint Mueller but said "the entire thing has been a witch hunt".

The Senate intelligence committee also asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to turn over any notes Comey might have made regarding discussions he had with White House or Justice Department officials about Russia's efforts to influence the election.

The investigation is not only focused on those now in the administration, but also Trump campaign associates no longer working for the president.

The House intelligence committee announced that it had asked for documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department.

"I look forward to this matter concluding quickly", Mr. Trump said in the statement.

"I think that's an open question", said Democratic Senator Chris Coons of DE when asked whether Comey would appear before Congress, adding that it remained to be seen "how ongoing congressional investigations will be coordinated with the special counsel".

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