Trump denies asking Comey to end Flynn investigation

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

The New York Times published new details Thursday night about the deterioration of the relationship between ousted FBI Director James Comey and Donald Trump, who tried to convince Comey multiple times to drop the federal investigation into his campaign's involvement with Russian Federation.

Comey may once have tried to hide behind curtains to avoid Donald J. Trump, but the former FBI director's investigation could mean curtains for the Trump presidency.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday announced former FBI Director Robert Mueller will be the special counsel heading up the FBI investigation, as the investigation appears to be gaining momentum.

"We have a very divided country because of that and many other things", Trump said.

Mr Comey had been running an inquiry into possible collusion between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's election campaign.

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself and the Russians, zero".

The focus on leaks has also been embraced by Republicans in Congress, who have urged reporters to pay more attention to the source of their stories - a familiar strategy to deflect the conversation away from bad news.

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.

Numerous interactions between Comey and Trump were detailed in the extensive memos that Comey kept and distributed amongst his staff. "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor.

Trump provoked the extraordinary work of reporters on the intelligence, justice and national security beats, who blew wide open the Russian Federation election scandal, the contacts between Russian Federation and top Trump officials, and interference by Trump in the FBI investigation. "It's special", Trump said.

His reaction differed from Wednesday when he was quoted in a White House statement as saying: "I look forward to this matter concluding quickly".

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"We'll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie", said Sen.

The surprise announcement to hand the probe over to Mueller, a lawman who garners deep bipartisan respect, was a striking shift for Trump's Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly loud calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor.

Trump said that Comey "was very unpopular with most people" and said that he was expecting more widespread praise for the firing.

"We want to bring this great country of ours together", he continued.

Donald Trump defended his firing of FBI Director James Comey amid questions from reporters.

"We need a great director of the FBI", Trump said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni following their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia, May 17, 2017.

Mr Trump has in vain tried to put investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office behind him.

"We see the common theme that in any presidential scandal, the attempt to either cover it up, hide it, obfuscate, is what drives the narrative", Mahaffee said. Each has a distinct goal, said John Barrett, a law professor at St. John's University in NY who formerly worked for the independent counsel who investigated the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration.

"I do think there is a serious problem with leakers inside the administration and holdovers who can't stand the president and will do anything they can to hurt him".

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