Putin rushes to Trump's defense, laments U.S. infighting

The New York Times, citing sources close to Comey, reported on Tuesday that Trump asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation director in an Oval Office meeting to drop its probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey".

And Trump himself told the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday that "major tax cuts" and "major tax reform" - in that order - were coming.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wants former FBI Director James Comey to answer questions before his congressional committee about a memo he purportedly wrote saying that President Donald Trump asked him to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's relationship with Russian Federation.

Democratic lawmakers have demanded that the Justice Department name a special prosecutor to investigate potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

The House Republican leader, Speaker Paul Ryan, said the three probes already under way were sufficient. It simply means that the House of Representatives will bring charges against the President.

Mr Flynn resigned in February after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. "I think they're also trying to send a message to the administration that we need to get focused". "That is very bad of him", Putin said to sniggers from the audience as he answered questions after talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

"It is hard to imagine what else these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next", he said.

A few Republicans have began to call for an independent probe. "I'd like it to be in a public setting", Chaffetz said Wednesday, adding that his preference would be for it to take place in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he chairs.

Trump's gesture was particularly important for Moscow given the spike in tensions following the USA missile strike in April on a Syrian air force base that Washington said was a staging point for a chemical attack.

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is among those probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, called Putin's offer "quite amusing".

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