Donald Trump's intel bosses reiterate: Russian Federation meddled in presidential election

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WASHINGTON-Ousted FBI Director James Comey has declined an invitation to appear in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee next week as part of the panel's attempt to probe the circumstances of his abrupt firing Tuesday by President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump's sour relationship with recently axed FBI Director James Comey just got worse.

Update: Pressed on the matter at his daily briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to answer questions about Trump's tweet - including whether there are potential recording devices in the White House. But if Mr. Comey was investigating the president, that would be grounds to take the investigation away from him (or simply to fire him).

In a letter released to the press on Friday afternoon, two top congressional Democrats, Elijah Cummings of Maryland and John Conyers of MI, asked the White House to hand over any such tapes "if they exist". A letter released by the President's lawyers publicly set out the Russian transactions reported on Mr Trump's tax returns for the first time.

The other main path is through Congress. Lawmakers are obviously unprepared just yet to initiate impeachment proceedings, but they may be coming closer to creating a bipartisan select committee to carry out the investigation Trump was evidently determined to keep the FBI from conducting.

Shortly before his call for peace Trump sent another Twitter missive: "Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election". The congressman called this investigation "the most important investigation of our lifetime" and said there is something "far more sinister about this investigation" than Watergate, because of the involvement of Russian Federation. "My decision", Mr Trump said.

"Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election", he wrote. Trump should've known better by Friday. He said that while he received a scathing assessment of Comey's performance from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday, that memo was not a catalyst for his dramatic decision as the White House had said earlier. "I was going to fire Comey", Trump said. "Finally, and with respect to the President's suggestion that as a very busy person, he doesn't have time to ensure that his spokespeople are accurately portraying his actions - it is hard to know how to respond - except to say, being truthful with the American people is a core responsibility of the job", Schiff said.

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In contrast to the president's spokespeople, Mr McCabe said: "Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and still does to this day".

In the NBC interview on Thursday, Trump said he would have fired Comey regardless of any such recommendations.

Sanders attributed the disconnect in the week's explanations to the fact that she had not directly asked Trump when he'd made the decision to fire Comey until shortly before Thursday's press briefing.

Instead, Trump assailed Comey's leadership as well as his competency, rewinding the praise he heaped on him a year ago and reprised in January.

At Issue: Could the Trump presidency be in serious jeopardy?

Comey also publicly refuted the president's charge, tweeted in March, that President Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower previous year. Shutting down news briefings, the association said in a statement, "would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the USA system, no political figure is above being questioned".

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