During the meeting – in which Trump allegedly revealed classified information provided by Israel – the president reportedly said Comey’s firing a day earlier had had relieved him of “great pressure” over his ties to Russian Federation.
The FBI’s investigation has bedeviled the Trump administration, and the president personally.
Burr says the committee wants to hear from Comey on his role in the development of the USA intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russian Federation interfered in last year’s election.
Asked point-blank if he’d done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no – and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: “I think it’s totally ridiculous”.
In a statement, he said that Comey had put unnecessary pressure on the president’s ability to conduct diplomacy with Russian Federation on matters such as Syria, Ukraine, and the Islamic State.
“I hope that former Director Comey’s testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President”, Warner said in the statement announcing the open hearing. “He was insane, a real nut job“, Trump has reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office on May 10, the day after he dismissed Comey, according to the document.
Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, did not dispute the account. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing. “He was insane, a real nut job”, Mr Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by a USA official.
The Russian government is accused by United States intelligence of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
If the White House invokes the rule, it could hamper the special counsel investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russian Federation. It says the president then told Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador that he “faced great pressure because of Russian Federation”.
The Justice Department, however, can waive the wait period for Mueller.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was returning to the Capitol on Friday for another closed-door session, this time with all members of the House.
Earlier this week, investors dumped stocks in response to reports that Trump in February had asked Comey to stop investigating his former national security adviser, prompting accusations the president may have tried to hamper the probe. Ryan said of the special counsel appointment of Robert Mueller was consistent with his goal of ensuring that “thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead”.
Separately, a Washington Post report, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, said a senior Trump adviser was now considered a “person of interest” in the law enforcement investigation into whether Mr Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russian Federation in an effort to sway the 2016 election.
Trump has repeatedly slammed the FBI and congressional investigations as a “hoax” and blamed disgruntled officials at intelligence agencies for leaking information related to the probes.
“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly”, he said.
The Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the matter, did not identify the senior Trump adviser except to say that the person of interest was close to Trump, a Republican who entered the White House four months ago. “I also expect Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election”.