At the same meeting, the The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Trump had given the Russians “highly classified information“, which “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence” on ISIS that came from a key ally, which, according to later reports, was Israel. Investigators have started conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas.
The FBI’s investigation is focused on whether and to what extent Trump campaign and transition team officials were in contact with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election.
But a New York Times report published this afternoon has uncovered an entirely new reason last week’s White House chat is turning into one of the most consequential conversations of Trump’s young presidency.
Trump is leaving Friday for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, and aides had hoped the disarray at home would have been calmed if not resolved, allowing the White House to refocus and move ahead.
The NY Times cited a document read to the paper by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation”.
In a late-breaking story from the New York Times on Thursday night, reporter Michael Schmidt noted how James Comey was repeatedly approached by Donald Trump and his associates, in an apparent bid to develop a congenial relationship between the president and the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Then Trump admitted he had been considering firing Comey for months. Joe Lieberman was among his top choices.
In a pair of morning Twitter posts and at a later news conference, the Republican president described calls by some on the left for his impeachment as “ridiculous” and said he had done nothing to warrant criminal charges.
The Justice Department on Friday released the text of Rosenstein’s opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.
Trump told NBC two days after firing Comey, however, that he meant to do it “regardless” of Rosenstein’s recommendation.
In the memo, Rosenstein wrote that Comey had been fired for poor handling of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton, namely Comey’s announced days before the Presidential election that the case had been reopened.
‘Yes, ‘ Durbin said, asked whether Rosenstein knew Comey was getting fired before he wrote it. He emphasized that his memo was “not a legal brief” and “not a finding of official misconduct”.
On a separate occasion, just one week after Trump’s inauguration, Comey was invited to the White House for a private dinner with Trump. Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Trump May 8, when the president asked them to put into writing their thoughts on Comey.
Wyden said he needed time to decide how to respond, but pledged he would do so.
Trott says Maryland Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings asked something like, “So you woke up one morning and made a decision to write a memo?”
“I have made no such determination”, Mr. Rosenstein said.
Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of MA echoed that sentiment, saying there was “considerable frustration” and that “he refused to answer a lot of questions”.
“What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command”, the Deputy Attorney General added. But some Democratic lawmakers have emerged troubled from the briefings, in which Rosenstein explained his decision to appoint the special counsel.
Normally, a special counsel like Mueller would answer to the Attorney General.