Firing 'nut job' Comey eased pressure, Trump told Russians

"I very much appreciate former FBI Director Comey's willingness to publicly testify about his conversations with President Trump and other relevant matters", Graham said in a statement.

"Director Comey. deserves an opportunity to tell his story", said Sen.

Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee after Memorial Day.

House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in response to the reports "every day the president gives us more reason to believe that he does not respect the office that he holds".

Also, the New York Times reported Friday Trump had told top Russian diplomats who visited the Oval Office last week that firing Comey relieved "great pressure" on him. The report, which cited a USA official who has seen a document summarising the meeting, said Trump also told the Russians the Federal Bureau of Investigation director "was insane, a real nut job". "He was insane, a real nut job".

"By grandstanding and politicising the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia", Sean Spicer said. After Comey's firing, Trump himself has interviewed several potential nominees.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not refute the Times story but said it was Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing" of the Russian Federation investigation that put pressure on the administration's ability to engage Moscow. White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not refute the Times story, but said that it was Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions" that created "unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation". He says he thought that move was appropriate and produced a memo summarizing what he said were his "longstanding concerns" over Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation.

The White House was rocked by a further revelation Friday, when reports emerged that Trump said his sacking of FBI director James Comey has relieved "great pressure" on him caused by the Russian Federation investigation.

Rosenstein also told the lawmakers that he is "not aware" of any request by the FBI for additional resources for the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. "Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations".

Now that we know the FBI is targeting a senior White House adviser, Republicans will have to decide whether to keep balancing this tightrope or whether to fully support the independent investigations going on into ties between Russian Federation and the president.

Democrats, who have compared the widening scandal to the Watergate break-in and cover-up that brought down Republican former President Richard Nixon in 1974, were quick to pounce on the latest reports.

Trump added, "I'm not under investigation".

Robert Mueller, the newly appointed special counsel to investigate Russia's influence in the 2016 election, potentially carries conflicts of interest with him into the investigation. Comey, who headed the FBI's now-criminal investigation into the same events, declined to do so.

But the president undercut that argument a day later, telling NBC News, "When I made a decision to just do it, I said to myself - I said, you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story".