Trump denies Comey allegations, collusion with Russian Federation

During the press conference Thursday afternoon, Trump also categorically denied media reports he asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, whose business ties to Russian Federation have come under close scrutiny since Trump fired Flynn only weeks into his administration.

"I also got very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein", Trump said. But his reputation has come under fierce attack in the past week over a memo he wrote about James Comey that the White House initially used as a justification for Trump to fire the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

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". "[Rosenstein] learned that Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo", Sen.

But it was still an open question whether Comey would appear publicly, and many lawmakers began to doubt he would testify after the Justice Department named Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the allegations between Russian officials and the Trump organization associates.

Durbin and other Democrats complained, however, that Rosenstein refused to answer many of their questions and did so by citing the seriousness of the investigation.

Rosenstein's 2:30 p.m. briefing with the Senate was scheduled before he announced late Wednesday that he was appointing Robert Mueller, a former prosecutor who served as FBI director from 2001 to 2013, to take over the Russian Federation investigation as special counsel. Trump fired Comey last week. He argued that he expected Democrats would support him because Comey was doing a bad job, and that Rosenstein had a similar opinion. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump told the Russian foreign minister and US ambassador on May 10 during an Oval Office meeting, according to a transcript of the meeting read to The Times by a USA official. In subsequent days, however, Trump acknowledged he'd chose to fire Comey even before he read Rosenstein's memo. "He did stress that he was concerned that whatever he said would be made public to the press", Cassidy told reporters with a chuckle, "so therefore he felt limited in what he could say".

Other news reports have alleged Trump had previously asked Comey to stop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

In U.S. history, dating back to 1776, the Senate has undergone only 19 formal impeachment proceedings, with a record of eight convictions, seven acquittals, three dismissals and a lone resignation. "Not completely, but pretty much", Graham said.

Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, although a date has not yet been set, according to the committee's chairman, Senator Richard Burr.

But Trump himself has already said that he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation by the Justice Department.

"I think the biggest legal change is that Mr. Mueller is going to proceed with the idea of a criminal investigation versus a counterintelligence investigation", Graham added.

"The Intelligence Committee in the Senate has to continue its work, and it should continue full throttle ahead", Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the briefing.

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