Justice Official Knew Trump Would Fire Comey, Senators Say


The White House issued a furious denial near the end of a tumultuous day spent beating back potentially disastrous news reports from dawn to dusk.

The latest political storm, coupled with the still-potent fallout from Mr Trump's recent disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats at the White House, has overshadowed all else in the capital and beyond.

Defending Trump's actions, officials played down the importance and secrecy of the information, which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself said he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation. Yet US allies and some members of Congress expressed concern bordering on alarm.

Other Republicans were quick to point the finger at former FBI Director James B. Comey, who the Times report said wrote a memo documenting a February conversation with Trump in which the president allegedly called for him to drop the investigation into Flynn.

Curbelo last week was one of the first Republicans to call for a congressional Select Committee to investigate Comey's firing and the fallout from alleged Russian meddling in last year's election.

Comey's memo, an apparent effort to create a paper trail of his contacts with the White House, would be the clearest evidence to date that the president has tried to influence the investigation.

Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday requesting it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he remained confident lawmakers could get tax reform legislation, a top Republican legislative priority, passed this year.

Republicans weren't going that far.

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The speaker said Congress has an oversight function, regardless of who is in the White House, and it will exercise that now.

The White House vigorously denied it all.

"After we hear from director Comey, we need to hear from the president as well, so we can decide who's telling the truth and who isn't", said Kaine.

Mr Trump has repeatedly slammed the FBI and congressional investigations as a "hoax" and blamed disgruntled officials at intelligence agencies for leaking information related to the probes.

That conflicts with White House press secretary Sean Spicer's explanation in the immediate aftermath of Comey's firing that it "was all" Rosenstein's idea.

Democratic lawmakers have demanded that the Justice Department name a special prosecutor to investigate the Russian Federation matter. "Memos, transcripts, tapes - the list keeps getting longer", he said.

Despite the revelation, Trump still chose Flynn as his national security adviser, giving him access to nearly every state secret, the Times said.

"As far as I can recall, maybe one month or two months before the Trump administration had an official ban on laptops on airlines from seven Middle Eastern counties and it was connected directly with the terrorist threat, " Lavrov added.