Comey Thought He Could Handle Trump's Interference

"And he said that ever since, the President had been trying to be chummy in a fashion that Comey felt was created to absorb him into Trump's world - to make him part of the team".

The Justice Department appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, to lead the investigation into Russian meddling on Wednesday.

Former FBI officials who worked under Mr. Mueller say members of Congress may have to adjust their expectations when it comes to the matter of public disclosures about the status of the investigation as it's in Mr. Mueller's nature to keep information about an ongoing probe held close to the chest.

Trump is scheduled to leave Washington on Friday (Saturday NZT) on his first foreign trip, a nine-day sojourn with stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium, as well as a visit to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.

He also accused Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Obama administration of conducting "illegal acts" with no special counsel appointed for them. The others were former Connecticut Sen.

Lawmakers said Rosenstein was careful in his wording, in part because of the potential scope of Mueller's probe.

"No, no. Next question", he replied when a reporter asked whether he had asked then-FBI Director James Comey to back down on the bureau's probe into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Did he in fact collude with Russian Federation in his campaign to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton?

"Everybody, even my enemies, have said there is no collusion", he maintained.

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

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". "And I think this shows a very divided country".

US says Iran directed convoy targeted by US air strike in Syria
The Syrian army had been sending reinforcements in the last few weeks to the desert region near its border with Iraq and Jordan. A US Pentagon official backed Mr Mattis and said the attack on forces did not reflect an escalation.

"FBI investigations are not fast, and Bob Mueller is unlikely to launch a particularly fast investigation", Graff told me in an interview Thursday. Despite the president's furious reaction, some fellow Republicans welcomed Mueller's appointment and expressed hopes it would restore some composure to a capital plunged in chaos.

While briefly addressing one question about the Russian Federation matter, Trump said the entire situation "divides" the United States.

"I do think that the special prosecutor provides a sense of calm and confidence perhaps for the American people, which is incredibly important".

Rosenstein told the lawmakers in a closed door session that he knew before he wrote the memo that President Trump was going to terminate Comey.

Numerous interactions between Comey and Trump were detailed in the extensive memos that Comey kept and distributed amongst his staff.

To emphasize the independence of his decision, Rosenstein did not notify White House counsel Donald McGahn of the appointment until 5:30 p.m., the same time Justice Department officials were briefing reporters and 30 minutes before the news became public. "I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein".

"That was a poor, poor performance".

The press conference is also the president's first public appearance after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be special counsel to investigate any ties between Russian Federation and The Trump campaign.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said at a press conference: "We need the facts".

Mr Comey's records of his interactions with the President, in the form of memos, have been requested by the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

When news broke this week of the Comey memo on Trump's alleged interference in the Flynn investigation, Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer said he found it "really stunning that nobody, not even from the White House, has come out under their own name in defense of the president here".

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