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Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein Says Trump's Decision to Fire Comey Was 'Appropriate'

20 May 2017

US President Donald Trump told Russian officials that firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey eased "great pressure" on him, US media report.

The newspaper cites the White House's official written account of the Oval Office meeting.

The document was read to the Times by one official, and a second official confirmed broad strokes of the discussion, the newspaper said.

Rosenstein's opening statement did not mention a New York Times report, published on Tuesday, that Comey had written memos describing what he felt were inappropriate efforts by Trump to influence the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.

"On May 8, I learned that President Trump meant to remove Director Comey and sought my advice and input", Rosenstein said.

In the days since Donald Trump fired F.B.I.

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Minutes after Donald Trump took off for his first foreign trip as president, reports surfaced that one of his senior advisers is under scrutiny in the Russian collusion investigation and further details were revealed indicating his firing of the FBI director was an attempt to curb the probe into the matter.

A special counsel has been appointed to spearhead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether any associates of Trump colluded with Russian officials during the campaign.

In a move aimed at restoring public faith in the Russian Federation investigation, Rosenstein this week appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to head the probe.

Well, according to a new report from The Washington Post, people familiar with the investigation say that a current senior administration official has been identified as a person of interest in the probe.

Rosenstein told members of Congress he knew that Trump planned to fire Comey before he wrote his memo.

'It is a candid memorandum about the FBI Director's public statements concerning a high-profile criminal investigation, ' Rosenstein said, according to a copy of his opening statement, The Hill reported.

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This comes after Trump himself admitted in an interview with NBC that he was thinking of "this Russian Federation thing" when he fired Comey, directly contradicting what his advisors had told reporters the night before.

The White House has struggled to explain the chain of events that led Mr Comey's firing - and who exactly made the decision. A well-paid lawyer would argue that Trump was saying in the NBC interview that he was thinking about Russian Federation, but that it wasn't necessarily the reason he acted.

The developments were a blow to White House efforts to tamp down interest in the Russian Federation investigation as Trump and his staff boarded Air Force One for Saudi Arabia, first stop on his first foreign trip as president. That prompted then acting attorney general Sally Yates to warn the White House's top lawyer he might be susceptible to blackmail. "I don't think (Rosenstein) did a lot to bolster our confidence in him today".

"I believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter", Trump said.

And maybe Trump did enjoy having Comey off the case, but perhaps that was merely a helpful byproduct of a more legitimate reason to fire him.

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