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Deputy AG knew Trump would fire Comey before memo, senators say

20 May 2017

Mr. Trump later acknowledged that he planned to fire Mr. Comey all along, regardless of Mr. Rosenstein's recommendation.

"Next question", Trump told a news conference in the White House, when asked if he "in any way, shape or form" ever urged Comey to end the probe.Comey's dismissal last week set off a series of jarring developments that culminated on Wednesday in the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to probe possible ties between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.They included media reports that Trump discussed sensitive intelligence on Islamic State with Russia's foreign minister.

"That was a poor, poor performance", Trump said.

Mr Trump clearly knew what he wanted to say as he took a few questions at a news briefing with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Asked if he thought he had done anything to warrant criminal charges or impeachment as some on the left have demanded, the Republican president replied: "I think it's totally ridiculous".

Trump calls special counsel Russian Federation probe 'greatest witch hunt' in USA history
While in charge at the FBI, Mr Comey was heading an investigation into possible Russian influence on the USA election. Democrats were far less sparing in their criticism and repeated demands for a special prosecutor.

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill. walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017, to attend a briefing of the full Senate by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein amid controversy over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!".

The remarks echo sentiments conveyed by Trump in a pair of tweets Thursday morning. He did not offer any evidence of such acts in his reference to Democratic former President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

President Trump however responded early Thursday tweeting "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" And if Trump and his allies have nothing to hide as they insist, they shouldn't have much to worry about.The next step is for Trump to name a successor to Comey at the Federal Bureau of Investigation without igniting another political firestorm. After the president was reported to have a measured response to the news Wednesday, he lashed out online, calling the probe a "witch hunt".

Massachusetts Democratic congressman Seth Moulton says Rosenstein didn't "do a lot to bolster our confidence in him".

"Look at the way I've been treated lately, especially by the media", he said.

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Graham said Rosenstein did not explain why the investigation had changed.

That's according to several United States senators who met with Rosenstein Thursday afternoon in a secure room in the Capitol basement.

Rep. Joe Crowley of NY, chairman of the House Democratic conference, said the briefing allayed some concerns because it appeared Mr. Mueller would be operating not with "a full blank check, but all the resources he will need to fulfill what he believes he needs to do to bring this to a close". The decision to move to an independent probe came a week after Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, sparking a political firestorm as the agency was in the midst of an investigation into the Russian Federation matter.

Mueller is likely to be given effective control over what information the Justice Department shares with Congress about the probe and what requests it makes to Congressional committees to defer questioning sensitive witnesses or avoid publicizing potential leads in the investigation. Asked about possible obstruction of justice, Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters the special counsel would "follow the facts where ever they may lead" and that "it is premature to prejudge anything at this point".

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He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States. Swedish prosecutors have announced they are dropping the country's rape investigation of Julian Assange .

Deputy AG knew Trump would fire Comey before memo, senators say