McMaster: Trump's FBI Comments to Russians Were Aimed at Cooperation

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

"We did not touch this issue at all", Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.

Reports that Trump boasted to Russian officials of firing former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey to relieve "great pressure" from a law-enforcement probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election engulfed his administration in turmoil just as Trump left for his first foreign trip as president on Friday. The statement from Trump seemed to suggest that the FBI investigation, at least in part, affected his decision to fire Comey.

It was also reported that Trump asked Comey to drop the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn during a February meeting, according to a memo that Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) speaks in Ypilanti Township, Michigan March 15, 2017 and FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., May 3, 2017 in a combination of file photos.

Senior White House staff also spoke to top intelligence officials about the possibility of the White House directly intervening in the FBI's investigation, officials told the Post.

The Times also reported on Friday that Trump boasted to Russian officials the day after he fired Comey that he terminated him because he "was insane, a real nut job" and he did so in order to ease the "great pressure because of Russia", which was now "taken off".

Before the latest reports, the White House had hoped to shift attention away from the political firestorm in Washington to foreign policy as well as the president's ambitious pro-business economic agenda in Congress.

Leaders of the House oversight committee, Republican Jason Chaffetz and Democrat Elijah Cummings, said they would seek to subpoena any notes of meetings between Comey and Trump.

It's an association that, as National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster told ABC News, has taken a heavy toll on President Donald Trump's effort to "reset" diplomatic relations between the USA and Russian Federation - something that Trump promised to do a number of times throughout his campaign. Flynn didn't resign until over a month later, and 18 days after former acting attorney general Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

"Might be good to get them back", Manchin said. Trump has denied he asked Comey to end the investigation. "There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign".

But, the Post noted, this was viewed by both current and former top intelligence officials "as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russian Federation investigation".

However, neither McMaster nor Tillerson on Sunday disputed that the subject of Comey's dismissal came up in the meeting with Russian officials.

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