Trump was also asked whether former Connecticut Sen. “And there is no collusion between, certainly myself and my campaign”.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that “the country is being tested in unprecedented ways” after learning of new reporting saying that Trump asked Comey to shelve the investigation.
Across town, Rosenstein was briefing the Senate about his decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the independent Trump-Russia probe.
Trump blasted that decision, echoing his Thursday morning tweets and comments he made over lunch with network news anchors that the Russian Federation investigation is a “witch hunt” that “divides the country”.
Repeating his assertion that Comey “was very unpopular with most people”, Trump said he was dismissed over inaccurate testimony delivered before Congress as well as his faulty decision making during the presidential campaign.
“No, no. Next question”, Trump said, cutting off a reporter mid-question. “Zero”, Trump said, standing next to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who was meeting with Trump at the White House, prompting the presser.
In his first on-camera remarks amid burgeoning scandals engulfing his White House, President Trump denied he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to scuttle an investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
“The entire thing has been a witch hunt”, he declared, echoing one of the tweets he’d sent out just after dawn: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
But the lingering question hanging over the press conference was what the appointment of Mueller meant for his presidency.
“We need the facts“.
One striking piece of news emerged from Rosenstein’s briefing: He told senators that he had already known Comey was getting fired even as he wrote the memo that Trump cited as a significant justification for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director’s dismissal. Trump himself had already contradicted that explanation, telling interviewers earlier that he had already made a decision to dismiss Comey.
“Then he had the very poor performance on Wednesday”.
The request came after The New York Times revealed on Tuesday the existence of a memo Comey had written showing Trump’s attempt to obstruct the FBI’s Russian Federation investigation. That was the White House’s position initially after the deputy attorney general argued in a memo that Comey had erred in handling the FBI’s investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server, even though Trump had praised Comey on the campaign trail a year ago.