Fired FBI Director Comey To Testify Publicly About Trump, Russia Probe

Cheryl Sanders
May 20, 2017

Trump has denied that ever happened.

Trump acknowledged, in an interview with NBC News, that he had chose to fire Comey before reading the memo by Rosenstein.

On Friday, the reportedNew York Times Trump told top Russian officials in the Oval Office that Comey was a "nut job" and terminating him had taken off the "great pressure because of Russia".

Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open session.

Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Comey has told associates, Trump asked for his loyalty.

Mr Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"Among the concerns that I recall were to restore the credibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, respect the established authority of the Department of Justice, limit public statements and eliminate leaks", he said, echoing the sentiments he had outlined in a May 9 memo that the White House released publicly that day and cited as the basis for the firing.

But on May 8 - the day before Rosenstein drafted that three-page memo, he told lawmakers - he had learned of Trump's intention to remove Comey from the job.

A U.S. official briefed on the conversation said Trump was using "pressure" he faced from Comey as a negotiating ploy to win diplomatic gains from Lavrov on issues of dispute between Washington and Moscow - namely Syria and Ukraine.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the president's rhetoric part of his deal-making. He said: "By grandstanding and politicising the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation". "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it".

"Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations", Spicer added. It is widely reported that this person is Trump's son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner.

Robert Mueller, who served as FBI chief under George W Bush, was appointed this week as special counsel for the investigation.

Cummings said the committee's Republican chairman, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, "should. have his subpoena pen ready" to obtain any White House documents related to Trump's meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.

FILE- In this March 7, 2017, file photo, then-Deputy Attorney General-designate Rod Rosenstein, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Investigators into Russian meddling in the United States presidential elections are now also probing whether White House officials have engaged in a cover-up, according to members of Congress who were briefed Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Chairman Burr said the testimony will be scheduled after Memorial Day. Asked whether that included Rosenstein, he said, "I don't think he did a lot to bolster our confidence in him".

The Justice Department on Friday distributed prepared remarks that Rosenstein delivered to Congress in separate briefings. Democrats were simultaneously heartened by the selection of a respected former FBI director and prosecutor to lead an investigation that they feared had been tarnished by Trump's interference, while also concerned about the possibility of losing their grip on the information coming out of their own investigations.

"There was considerable frustration in the room", said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a member of the Armed Services Committee.

"This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration", Moulton said.

He says he asked career Justice Department lawyers to review the memo.

He says his memo is not a finding of official misconduct and is not a statement of reasons to justify Comey's firing. "I believe it. I stand by it".

One point where the investigations may meet is with Comey himself, who has been invited to testify by several congressional committees about whether Trump attempted to interfere in the FBI investigation. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers. However, at a combative news conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Trump aides said he never tried to squelch the Flynn investigation nor made inappropriate disclosures to the Russians.

Other reports by iNewsToday