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

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In his most risky and irresponsible act so far, Trump shared highly classified information with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador to the US, who visited the White House last week. According to Putin, this latest accusation against Trump is "political schizophrenia". "We need the facts", Ryan said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he still has full confidence in President Donald Trump but that lawmakers must "follow the facts wherever they lead" as the speaker sought to tamp down Republican unease over the turmoil engulfing the White House. "But I suppose it's going to continue, so we'll have to get used to it".

Ryan said that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has "appropriately" requested the Comey memo. On February 13, Flynn resigned from his post, acknowledging that he had provided White House officials with "incomplete information" over a phone call he'd had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. "What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command".

The President also suggested that the investigation now being headed by Mr. Mueller was motivated by an attempt by Democrats to explain away "having lost an election that they should have easily won because of the Electoral College being slanted so much in their way". Congressional investigators are seeking Comey's memos, as well as documents from the Justice Department related to the firing.

The Wisconsin Republican was asked on his way out of a news conference whether he still had confidence in Trump, and he responded, "I do". We're trying to go the extra mile - we owe the White House the chance to present us with the information, present us with the truth.

On Tuesday, the Republican chairman of a House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz, set a May 24 deadline for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to produce all relevant material relating to any communications between Comey and Trump.

Ryan declined to wade into whether Trump obstructed justice - a crime under USA law.

"We need the facts", Ryan told reporters after Republicans huddled on Capitol Hill following explosive reports that Trump shared intelligence secrets with Russian officials, and that he pressured the director of the FBI to drop an ongoing investigation.

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Israeli intelligence agents were concerned that information given to Russian Federation could be passed on to Iran, it reported.

Putin's offer could pressure the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting.

Under current U.S. law, the president has the power to declassify information as he or she sees fit. After the news broke of the Comey memo, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stood in the chamber and said, "I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate - history is watching".

Senate Judiciary Committee members requested similar records.

Asked by reporters whether he thought the allegations against Trump were grounds for impeachment, Republican Representative Justin Amash said, "If the allegations are true, yes. But whether it will be given any credibility - I can tell you its credibility would be less than zero", Schiff said.

For Republicans who had repeated the party line, Trump's contradiction was at best an embarrassment.

Trump went on to dismiss as "totally ridiculous" the notion that he himself may have committed a prosecutable - or even impeachable - offence in recent months, as argued by some critics who suspect him of obstructing the FBI's probe.

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