Ousted FBI chief to brief senators in public hearing

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"I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", Sen.

They may now be partners in trying to push through Republican legislation, but the relationship between Trump and the SC senator has been far from smooth. Initially, the administration had claimed that the president had terminated Comey's employment based exclusively upon a recommendation from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A Washington Post report, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, said a senior Trump adviser is now considered a "person of interest" in the law enforcement investigation into whether Mr Trump's campaign associates co-ordinated with Russian Federation in an effort to sway the 2016 election. That would surely include Trump's firing of Comey.

"Among the concerns that I recall were to restore the credibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, respect the established authority of the Department of Justice, limit public statements and eliminate leaks", he said, echoing the sentiments he had outlined in a May 9 memo that the White House released publicly that day and cited as the basis for the firing. Several senators said afterwards that Mr Rosenstein told them he was certain Mr Trump was going to dismiss Mr Comey, even before he wrote a memo critical of the director's performance. The President had later claimed that he had moved against Mr Comey in part because of his frustration over the FBI's handling of the Russian Federation investigation.

Trump's decision to fire Comey two weeks ago has fed into a maelstrom for his presidency.

The new headlines were a fresh indication that Mr Trump would not be able to change the subject from what appears to be an intensifying investigation reaching toward the president and his inner circle. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee's chairman and ranking member, respectively, said in a joint statement.

"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", Trump said at a luncheon with a group of television news anchors. "I don't think (Rosenstein) did a lot to bolster our confidence in him today".

Trump on Thursday lashed out at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election, tweeting that it was "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

Trump has repeatedly slammed the FBI and congressional investigations as a "hoax" and blamed disgruntled officials at intelligence agencies for leaking information related to the probes.

The billionaire property mogul added: "I'm not under investigation".

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The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller's background as well as any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

"I came out of there knowing that I trust this deputy attorney general, that I trust this special counsel and while he didn't answer many questions, he had a clear reason for not answering", Cleaver said.

Robert Mueller, who served as FBI chief under George W Bush, was appointed this week as special counsel for the investigation.

The hearing will take place after the May 29 Memorial Day holiday.

"This is a truth hunt", said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.

"The Congress' role really is to look forward to make sure this does not ever happen again", Cummings said.

"That's taken off." He also told the Russians that he isn't under investigation.

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment.

When he announced Mueller's appointment this week, Rosenstein said Mueller will have "all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation".

"Director Comey was very unpopular with most people", he said Thursday at a news conference.

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