Not quite everybody. While Trump tweeted and voiced his indignation at the White House, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed an independent special counsel to lead a heightened federal Trump-Russia investigation the day before, briefed the entire Senate behind closed doors at the Capitol.
At the time, the president's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, flatly said the story was entirely untrue, but refused to take any questions. That detail was news to Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Comey's and a named source for other anecdotes in the Times article, but Wittes wanted to elaborate on his casual lunchtime conversations with Comey, he wrote in Lawfare Thursday night, because after reading the article, "I immediately understood certain things Comey had said to me over the previous few months in a different, and frankly more menacing, light". "It's special", Trump said. However the White House said there would be no announcement Friday.
"No, no, next question", Trump said when asked by a reporter at a news conference Thursday with Colombia's president, Juan Manual Santos.
A new report sheds further light on the efforts made by former FBI Director James Comey to keep himself at a distance from President Donald Trump. "I hope you can let this go". Boston.com readers get a 2-week free trial. But he made clear it was not his intention for Trump or other White House officials to use the document to justify firing Comey, which is what they have done. "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 in part.
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In a statement, the White House said "the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation involving General Flynn".
Flynn's contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign, as well as his work for the Turkish government, are under investigation. From the time Mr. Trump asked for his loyalty in the FBI's ensuing investigation - and Mr. Comey replied he could only pledge his "honesty" - to Mr. Trump's latest attempt to end the entire FBI probe into what he calls "this Russian Federation thing" that he says is a "made-up story".
The Times doesn't mince words about what's at stake here. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said outside the meeting that the "counterintelligence matter moves forward", and "it is my hope that they will not be in conflict with one another, and I do not believe that they need to be in conflict with one another". Asked point-blank if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous". "I have my subpoena pen ready".
Rosenstein's decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel has been well-received by senators, though Graham said "there are a lot of people in that room who were shocked that when a special counsel has been appointed that Congress has limitations on what we can do".
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