U.S. President Donald Trump told Russian diplomats last week his firing of "nut job" James Comey had eased the pressure on him, according to a New York Times report Friday that pursued the president as he began his maiden foreign trip.
Pelosi told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that "every day the president gives us more reason to believe that he does not respect the office that he holds".
Rosenstein only told House members that he appointed a special counsel to restore Americans' faith in the Russian Federation investigation, saying that interference in USA elections should not be a partisan issue.
The Post said the source of its information would not further identify the official who was described as being a person close to Trump.
According to a minute of a meeting read to the New York Times, the United States president said sacking Mr Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him.
"I hope that former Director Comey's testimony will help answer some of the questions that have arisen since Director Comey was so suddenly dismissed by the President".
"I faced great pressure because of Russia", Trump told Russian officials who visited him in the Oval Office the day after he fired Comey, according to a Friday New York Times report.
In a statement in response, White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not deny the report, but said Mr Comey had created "unnecessary pressure" on the US' ability to conduct diplomacy with Russian Federation.
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This now marks five weeks of sustained protests against Maduro, whom opponents decry as a dictator who has ruined the economy. People have waited in long queues to buy basic supplies while restaurants in cities like Valencia remain closed.
Contacted by the Times, White House press secretary Sean Spice did not deny Trump had made the statements, saying Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing" of the Russian Federation probe had put "unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation". "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Comey's highly-anticipated testimony, which will be slated after the Memorial Day congressional recess, comes after he was sacked by Trump May 9 amid a mounting investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election and possible ties between Trump campaign associates and the country.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take over the federal investigation in an effort to re-establish independence from the White House.
The surprise announcement to hand the probe over to Mueller, a lawman with deep bipartisan respect, was a striking shift for Trump's Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly loud calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was returning to the Capitol on Friday for another closed-door session, this time with all members of the House. Law enforcement officials now consider a senior Trump adviser a "person of interest" in the probe, the Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Trump's first national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, was sacked over misstatements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly", he said.
Separately, The Washington Post reported Friday that the FBI investigation into possible co-ordination between Russian Federation and the Trump presidential campaign was moving closer to the White House.
Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the panel should request White House documents related to the May 10 meeting and subpoena them if necessary. "I also expect Director Comey will be able to shed light on issues critical to this Committee's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election".
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