President Trump: Firing FBI chief eases "great pressure" on him from probe

However, in an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt, Trump contradicted that, saying he had decided regardless of what the Justice Department said.

"No. No. Next question", Trump said at a news conference Thursday when asked if he "in any way, shape or form" ever urged Comey, whom he fired on May 9, to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, Reuters reports.

"This was a useless briefing and did not provide any more information to clarify the motivation of his memo writing", he said, noting Democrats and Republicans both pushed Rosenstein on that point.

When he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month, Comey defended his decision to reveal that the agency was restarting its probe into Hillary Clinton's email use just days before last year's election while not disclosing a separate probe into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation. A date has not been set. On Thursday, Trump declared himself the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in American political history and denied allegations of collusion.

Rosenstein met with all USA senators in one of the most protected rooms on Capitol Hill, "the SCIF", or a sensitive compartmented information facility.

Rosenstein did not notify White House counsel Donald McGahn of his special counsel decision until 5:30 p.m., the same time Justice Department officials were briefing reporters and 30 minutes before the news became public. One part of the Senate SCIF is large enough to hold all 100 senators, a senior aide said.

Rosenstein also said he chose what to write in a memo to the president recommending Comey's dismissal.

Trump also set a goal to use the visits as a way to signal that the USA is re-establishing its global leadership role while emphasizing its allies' responsibility to share more of the burden of their own defence and to increase investment and partnerships that can create United States jobs, the official said. Several congressional committees are also investigating, though their probes could not produce criminal charges.

After explaining to Mr. Trump how communications with the Federal Bureau of Investigation should work, Mr. Comey believed he had effectively drawn the line after a series of encounters he had with the President and other White House officials that he felt jeopardised the FBI's independence.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said maybe Congress's role will have to change from finding out what happened to finding a way to make sure Russian meddling does not happen again.

"Comey served his country with honour for many years, and he deserves an opportunity to tell his story".

The FBI investigation into alleged coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government has identified a current White House official as a "significant person of interest", according to a new report.

"It's clear he just wanted to defer to Mueller on everything tough", said one Democratic lawmaker inside the room, who added that Rosenstein didn't address most questions and described his demeanor as "frustratingly cautious".

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