Firing 'nut job' Comey eased pressure, Trump told Russians

Owen Stevens
May 24, 2017

The Post says the revelation comes as the investigation appears to be entering a more open and active phase, with investigators conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said. The request was made by Trump after Flynn resigned as the national security advisor following surfacing of reports that he had maintained links with the Russians.

Gen Flynn was forced to resign his post in February after claims he misled the White House about his contact with Russian Federation.

His appointment, by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was a striking shift for the Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly insistent calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor.

They also said that did not mean any criminal charges were near.

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify in open session before one of the legislative committees investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump and Russian Federation, committee leaders announced Friday. But Mueller's appointment apparently took some of the edge off.

The counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion by the campaign of President Donald Trump with Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections has become a criminal probe, several USA senators said after a briefing Thursday. Defending his decision to sack Comey, he said the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief was "very unpopular" among many people. But even without specifics, he said, the briefing was "sobering". "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it".

"I just fired the head of the FBI He was insane, a real nut job", Mr Trump said, according to a document detailing the Russian visit. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

In a statement, the White House said "the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation involving General Flynn". By several senators' accounts, he contradicted Trump's statements that Rosenstein's written criticism of FBI Director James Comey had been a factor in Comey's recent firing by the president.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller is now investigating the matter as a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, not only for potential collusion, but also possible obstruction of justice.

Separately from the probe now run by Mueller, Flynn is being investigated by the Pentagon's top watchdog for his foreign payments.

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

Donald Trump reportedly told aides that it was a mistake to fire Michael Flynn, POLITCO reports.

Other interactions between the White House and Comey illustrate what The Times depicted as an uncomfortable relationship between the two entities.

The president has nonetheless seemed to defend his former adviser.

Some have alleged that Trump fired Comey in order to impede the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the election.

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the USA, in late November.

Trump, who has embraced what he describes as an "America First" approach to US foreign policy and worldwide trade, is expected to be welcomed warmly by leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel. "No" to a question about whether he had asked the FBI to drop an investigation into his former national security adviser.

That man - Evgeny Buryakov - ultimately pleaded guilty and was eventually deported.

The committee says it hopes the testimony will help answer questions that have arisen since the director was suddenly dismissed by President Donald Trump. The United States government officially announced a year ago that Russian Federation had meddled in the 2016 election.

Other reports by VgToday

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