Former FBI Director James Comey agrees to testify before Senate Intel Committee

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 'frustratingly cautious' in briefing House members

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File).

President Donald Trump told Russian officials during a meeting last week that firing FBI Director James Comey relieved "great pressure" on him, according to a report from The New York Times.

White House hopes that Trump could leave scandalous allegations at home were crushed in a one-two punch of revelations that landed shortly after his departure. Law enforcement officials now consider a senior Trump adviser a "person of interest" in the probe, the Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Friday's report quotes Trump calling ousted FBI Director James Comey "crazy" and "a real nut job".

House members and senators said Rosenstein in his briefings steered clear of specifics in answering questions about his appointment of Mueller but made clear the former FBI director, will have wide latitude to pursue the investigation, potentially including criminal charges.

"The Committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", Republican Richard Burr of the North Carolina said.

"I was going to fire Comey", Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt in an interview last week.

President Donald Trump waits to speak during the 2017 National Peace Officers Memorial Service in Washington, D.C. The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump told Russian diplomats that firing the "nut job" Federal Bureau of Investigation director had relieved "great pressure" on him.

Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting.

The White House repeated its assertion that a "thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity".

Trump met with the Russians on May 10, the day after he fired Comey.

As investigations move forward on possible Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation and what led to the firing of FBI Director James Comey. The Times said its source was a USA official, reading from a document summarizing Trump's meeting last week with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador.

"I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability", Mueller said in a statement.

Multiple investigations into Trump's ties to Russian Federation are ongoing. The details of his comments to the Russians would seem to bolster theories that Trump fired Comey in an effort to choke off the Russia investigation. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations." said Spicer. In March, Kushner volunteered to answer lawmakers' questions about meetings he had with Russian officials during the transition.

"There is no reason he can't testify before both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, particularly given that the Judiciary Committee is the FBI's primary oversight committee", Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a statement.

Rosenstein's briefing also comes after the decision he made earlier this week to appoint Mueller to be special counsel in the Justice Department's probe of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and any possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's presidential campaign past year.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the memo the president initially cited as justification for firing FBI Director James Comey.

"It's clear he just wanted to defer to Mueller on everything tough", said one Democratic lawmaker inside the room, who added that Rosenstein didn't address most questions and described his demeanor as "frustratingly cautious". "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor.

The Justice Department on Friday issued a transcript of Rosenstein's remarks.

"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", Trump said at a luncheon with a group of television news anchors in the day.

Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of MA echoed that sentiment, saying there was "considerable frustration" and that "he refused to answer a lot of questions". "This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration". Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed - as recently as Thursday - to the "very strong" recommendation from Rosenstein.

But Rosenstein added: "I wrote it". Rosenstein denounced that decision as "profoundly wrong and unfair".

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