Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Trump said firing 'nut job' Comey relieved 'great pressure'

Christy Curtis | 22 May, 2017, 03:24

Trump's terse denial followed reports by Reuters and other media about a memo written by Comey alleging that Trump made the request to close down the investigation into Michael Flynn and Russian Federation in February.

President Donald Trump lashed out on Thursday over his Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible ties between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation, calling it "the single greatest witch hunt" in US history.

"At this point, the Republican Congress is trying to find a way to get to the bottom of the allegations about the ties between members of the Trump Administration and Russia", Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, told Xinhua.

But in his repeated public denunciations of the investigation as a "witch hunt" and his evident anger at the news that the Justice Department had appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel charged with leading the investigation, Trump did not complain that the process was affecting his foreign policy negotiations.

The White House on Friday predicted that the investigation would back up Trump's account. In the Oval Office weeks later, Comey told associates, the president asked him to shut down an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey's dismissal last week set off a series of jarring developments that culminated on Wednesday in the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to probe possible ties between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., said Rosenstein was asked repeatedly about who asked him to write the memo. Lawmakers of both parties sought to question him about Trump's firing last week of FBI Director James Comey, which was followed by news that the USA president had shared secrets with the Russians and tried to stop Comey from investigating former presidential adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump strongly disagreed. The appointment, he said in a briefing with news anchors, "hurts our country terribly". Wittes says he didn't intend to ever discuss the private conversation he had with Comey but changed his mind after learning about Trump's request for loyalty during a private dinner in January.

Though Mr Trump's approval ratings are low for a new president, 77 per cent of Republicans approve of his performance, according to the most recent Reuters/Ipsos survey.

Senators said that Rosenstein steered clear of specifics while making clear that Mueller has wide latitude to pursue the investigation wherever it leads, including potentially criminal charges.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer commented on the Times report, reiterating the president's recent characterization of Comey as a "grandstander."

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment of a special counsel, a prosecutor with wide authority to investigate Russia's interference and other potential crimes uncovered.

"I'm not under investigation", he added.

He also reportedly said, "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".

"As to Mr. Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, coming before the committee, if I were Mr. Mueller I would jealously guard the witness pool".

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