Trump admits Russian Federation probe played into Comey's firing

The extraordinary if ambiguous tweet came three days after Trump fired Comey, who was overseeing the bureau's investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and whether anyone in Trump's campaign was involved.

"Mr. Trump, in an interview on Thursday with NBC, described a far different dinner conversation with Mr. Comey in which the director asked to have the meeting and the question of loyalty never came up", the Times notes. Comey hasn't spoken publicly since he was sacked, but an associate said Trump's claims are puzzling, adding that Trump sought a loyalty pledge from Comey during the January 27 White House dinner, which the ex-director declined to give.

Trump's contention that he was going to fire Comey regardless of what Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the No. 2 Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein recommended conflicts with earlier explanations from the White House. "And in fact when I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made up story".

Trump invited Comey to have dinner with him at the White House, and in the course of their conversation, the president asked Comey if he would pledge his loyalty to him.

"But nonetheless, he fired the top cop on that investigation, and I think no one believes this was about Hillary Clinton's emails, I think it was all about the Russian Federation case", Schiff said. Comey said that he responded, "Yes, you will have that".

Last week, the president fired the FBI director who was leading an investigation into his campaign.

"That exercise, conducted in full view of our republic's citizens, is clearly in line with the spirit of the First Amendment", Mason said.

Like many administrations, the relationship between Trump and the press has been tense.

Seventy-two percent of voters who supported Clinton in last year's election say that Trump made the wrong decision in firing Comey, while 83 percent of those who supported Trump think that Trump was in the right.

"We consider it to be a highly significant investigation", McCabe told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hearing.

Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not "reliable" in the conventional political sense. Trump continues to argue he and members of his campaign team were spied on by the Obama administration and US intelligence while he was competing to win the White House. "They still haven't given us anybody; we can't even reach anybody to ask".

"And while it's clear to me now more than ever that an independent special counsel must be appointed, make no mistake our committee will get to the bottom of what happened during the 2016 presidential election", Warner said, although he said he was not happy with the pace of the committee's probe.

In a statement, Grassley said that Comey had previously briefed him and the panel's top Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and that the lawmakers "heard nothing that contradicted the president's statement".

Spicer said Trump's "robust schedule" means that "sometimes we don't get an opportunity to get in to see him and get his full thinking".

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