Trump denies ever urging Comey to back off Flynn investigation


Trump faces fierce criticism over his sharing of sensitive national security information with Russian officials and his firing last week of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

"No. No. Next question", Trump responded curtly to a reporter during a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday afternoon. He denied this as well. In a reported memo, Comey allegedly says Trump asked him to let the probe into Flynn go.

The president's comments come as he deals with backlash from firing Comey last week and subsequent reports that raised questions about whether he might have tried to interfere with an investigation.

'Officially noticed a hearing for next Wednesday at 9:30am ET with former FBI Dir Comey. The same reporter then asked if Trump thought that he had done anything over the a year ago that was worthy of criminal charges or his impeachment.

The White House says an investigation will prove there was no collusion.

"The president has never asked Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn", it said.

One Republican official, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, said after meeting Trump recently he did not think the president had a firm enough grasp on the nuances of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The president's frustration has been building since he abruptly fired Comey.

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There's a view in Moscow that "given the hard position Trump is in, there may be no point in going ahead with serious dialogue", said Andrei Kortunov, who runs the Russian International Affairs Council, a research group set up by the Kremlin.

President Trump watches as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan departs at the entrance to the West Wing of the White House in Washington, May 16, 2017.

Robert Mueller, Comey's predecessor at FBI from 2001-2013, has a lengthy, close and somewhat controversial history with the man suddenly at the center of investigations swirling around Trump.

And earlier in the day, during a private lunch of television anchors at the White House, Trump said he believes the decision to appoint a special counsel "hurts our country terribly" and called it "a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election". "You can't let them get you down, can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams".

"It shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", Trump told the group.

"I don't think he understands it", said the official, adding that Trump needed more detailed briefings before leaving on Friday.

"As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline safety", he defensively said in two postings on his Twitter account.