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Trump Told Russians Firing 'Nut Job' Comey Relieved Pressure on Him

This could implicate Jared Kushner, as he's the only senior White House advisor now known to have had contact with Russian officials.

But it lead to criticism from Mr Trump's political rivals, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said earlier this week: "If these reports are true, the President's brazen attempt to shut down the FBI's investigation of Michael Flynn is an assault on the rule of law that is fundamental to our democracy".

Despite agreeing to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey declined to testify before the Judiciary Committee. Richard Burr of North Carolina said Thursday.

But, warning that leaks were undermining national security, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer 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 New York Times cited an unnamed U.S. official as its source for receiving the comments, which had been taken down in notes summarizing the meeting.

Spicer responded, "As the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity".

However, he made clear he did not intend for Mr Trump or other White House officials to use the document to justify firing Mr Comey, which is what they have done.




It comes as concerns grow in Washington about the nature of the relationship between Trump's administration and Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has also landed on investigators' radar for meeting privately with Sergey Gorkov, the CEO of a Russian state-owned bank, during the transition.

Trump continues to search for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

The Justice Department's newly appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller, was given the authority to investigate not only potential collusion but also related allegations, which would include obstruction of justice. The next day, Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The Times reports that Trump's remarks were contained in "a document summarizing the meeting", which it had not obtained but "which was read to The New York Times by an American official".

The announcement comes hours after Trump said he was "very close" to naming the replacement of former FBI Director James Comey whom he fired on May 9. The report said Comey wrote memos describing his interactions with Trump, which he believed were inappropriate.

A USA 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.

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