Trump denies asking Comey to drop probe, decries 'witch hunt'

Trump denies asking Comey to drop probe, decries 'witch hunt'

That's according to Eric Columbus, who served as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general's office in the Obama administration, when Rosenstein worked for the department as the United States attorney in Maryland.

MCCASKILL: He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo. In addition, Comey wrote a memo detailing Trump's comments to him in February saying "I hope you can let this go", referring to the Flynn probe, a source who saw the memo said on Tuesday. I have reason to believe that there are emails between Clinton campaign officials, democratic operatives to the Department of Justice regarding the Clinton email investigation that happened on Obama's watch.

He said Rosenstein didn't tell lawmakers who told him to write the memo with the rationale for ousting Comey.

President Donald Trump declared himself the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in American political history Thursday and slapped down accusations he tried to quash a probe into collusion between his campaign team and Russian Federation.

The leaders of the House Russia investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway and Rep. Adam Schiff, announced Thursday that they sent a formal request to the FBI seeking records of Comey's discussions with Trump.

Further confusing the story, however, Mr Trump cited Mr Rosenstein's memo as a deciding factor in firing Comey during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. And I think it's a very, very negative thing.

The tweets fly in the face of the statement issued on Wednesday night which had appeared as an attempt by Trump's staff to tamp down the raging political storm over Russian Federation which has resulted in Trump's worst week in office so far. Lindsey Graham, said he was convinced that Mueller's appointment would hinder Congress' probing.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been selected to lead the inquiry.

Two days later, however, Mr Trump claimed the decision to fire Mr Comey has been entirely his own, made independent of the Justice Department's recommendation.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said Rosenstein told senators that he knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his letter accusing him of missteps as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, including his handling of an election-year probe into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. At a CNN town hall in May, Graham said that he would support the appointment of a special prosecutor.

The announcement of a special counsel apparently took the White House by surprise, with Mr Trump being informed of it only after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had signed the order. Trump tweeted, misspelling the word "counsel".

Pressure to place the Russia probe in independent hands intensified this week following reports that Trump pressured Comey to reel back the Russia investigation as it pertained to Michael Flynn, the national security advisor who was sacked over concerns about his Russian contacts.

HollywoodLifers, do you think Robert's appointment could lead to President Trump's impeachment?

Some Republicans continue to question the need for an independent prosecutor, noting that multiple probes have been under way for months.

Rosenstein fielded questions in the closed session for more than an hour, but many senators left the briefing unsatisfied.

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