New Russia probe leaks threaten to derail Trump's foreign trip

Trump calls naming of special counsel a 'witch hunt' | Bangkok Post: news

They have, however, also jumped in with both feet on nearly any anonymous story linking this administration with Russia, spreading tales of electrical grids being hacked and breathlessly repeating reports "proving" Russian interference in USA elections, many of which have been found to be totally without merit.

Meanwhile, a White House official "close to the president" is said to be under the microscope as a "person of interest" in the criminal investigation into prohibited collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, the Washington Post reports.

"Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller's findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution".

Trump's trip, which also includes stops in Israel, Italy and Belgium next week, has been billed by the administration as a chance to visit places sacred to three of the world's major religions while giving him time to meet with Arab, Israeli and European leaders.

Comey, who has not spoken publicly in the 10 days since he was sacked, will testify in an open session of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief whose firing by President Donald Trump has triggered uproar, has agreed to testify publicly about Russian interference in the 2016 elections, lawmakers have announced. Trump also called Comey a "nut job". Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

Comey turned down an invitation to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He said the investigation would have always continued, and the termination of Comey would not have ended it.

"This was a five-alarm fire from early on.The way the Russians were talking about him", an official of the previous Obama administration said.

In reaction to that report, Spicer said, "As the President has stated before - a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity".

While speaking with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Trump reportedly said, "I faced great pressure because of Russia".

"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia", Spicer said. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations".

A White House official said: "We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russian Federation".

Several lawmakers have expressed concerns that the new special counsel investigation may impede the congressional investigations.

Chaffetz has scheduled a hearing on Comey's firing next Wednesday, although it's not clear if Comey will testify.

Burr says the committee wants to hear from Comey on his role in the development of the USA intelligence agencies' assessment that Russian Federation interfered in last year's election. "I believe it. I stand by it". Rosenstein said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader".

The President of the United States disclosed more to Russian officials than the American public.

Trump also told the Russians, as he has said publicly, "I'm not under investigation".

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