Justice official says he stands by critical memo on Comey

Justice official says he stands by critical memo on Comey

Earlier, the USA was rocked by revelations that Comey wrote memos of his past meetings with Trump, including one at which the president apparently asked him to stop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Once again, Trump's tweets on Thursday saw him stake out a radical departure from the official White House line on an important issue, a habit that has repeatedly undermined his press operation in recent days, and made it even more hard for his administration to move on from a string of self-imposed crises. The real question is how much interference this could still allow from Trump and the White House, and the legal answer to that question may well be different from the political answer.

House and Senate investigators probing Russia's ties to the campaign of President Donald Trump promised Thursday they would continue on the same track amid questions of whether the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller would curtail their work.

They included media reports that Trump discussed sensitive intelligence on the Islamic State militant group with Russia's foreign minister.

The White House initially cited Rosenstein's recommendation to explain Comey's ouster during an ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Trump's associates and Russian Federation.

Trump was speaking in a joint press conference with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos.

However, Trump later lashed out at the appointment of the special counsel in a series of tweets.

The remarks echo sentiments conveyed by Trump in a pair of tweets Thursday morning.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar responded, "This is a truth hunt". Trump later deleted and retweeted that statement to correct the spelling of "counsel".

Burr told reporters Thursday about the response from Flynn's lawyer.

US stocks recovered ground on Thursday as upbeat economic data emboldened investors to return to the market, a day after Wall Street saw the biggest selloff in eight months on worries the political turmoil could undermine Trump initiatives such as tax cuts that investors see as favouring economic growth.

Iran sanctions 9 American firms as countermeasure
The dual announcement of the sanction waivers and new measures could conceivably have some impact on voting intentions. Qasemi, echoing Iran's official stance, said Iran's ballistic missile program was no breach of the nuclear deal.

In announcing the appointment of a special counselor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he determined the move was "in the public interest".

"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country".

Rosenstein was due to brief US senators later on Thursday. "Mr Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor. Trump wrote, his anger bubbling over. But he added, "I wrote it".

"I would be very discouraged if somehow this new special prosecutor would preclude Jim Comey from testifying in public before our committee", he said.

Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin echoed McCaskill, saying Rosenstein told lawmakers that he knew of Trump's intent the day before he wrote a document that the White House initially said was the main reason Comey was dismissed.

But Trump himself has already said that he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation by the Justice Department.

First there was then-FBI Director James Comey's announcement in March that the probe was focusing not just generally on Russian hacking but on alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign; now we learn it's pointing more toward the top.

The newspaper is citing unidentified people familiar with the investigation.

The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump told Russian diplomats that firing the "nut job" Federal Bureau of Investigation director had relieved "great pressure" on him.

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment.

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