If a new report about President Donald Trump passing words of reassurance to former national security adviser Michael Flynn is accurate, it could have serious implications in terms of the president's firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
Press leaks, including to Fox News, later established that Comey had written a memo to himself detailing at least one encounter with Trump where the president had suggested he would like to see any investigation of Flynn ended.
The Justice Department says Mueller, the new special counsel, has been given sweeping power to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, including potential links between Moscow and Trump associates.
Across town, Rosenstein was briefing the Senate about his decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the independent Trump-Russia probe.
But Trump defended his highly unusual move the next day, tweeting that he had the right to share information pertaining to terrorism and airline safety with Russian officials, and that he wanted to do so because of "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism".
"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country".More news: Humans Accidentally Created Protective Barrier Around Earth
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Putin's cheeky proposal comes two days after the Washington Post broke the story that Trump had shared sensitive intelligence with Lavrov, as well as with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. One of the attendees, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Rosenstein as anxious and nervous and said he drank multiple glasses of water "and spilled one". Trump himself had already contradicted that explanation, telling interviewers earlier that he had already made a decision to dismiss Comey.
"And he said that ever since, the President had been trying to be chummy in a fashion that Comey felt was created to absorb him into Trump's world - to make him part of the team".
Also read: Here's how impeachment works - and why Trump is safe for now. That was the White House's position initially after the deputy attorney general argued in a memo that Comey had erred in handling the FBI's investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's private email server, even though Trump had praised Comey on the campaign trail a year ago.
Trump said that Comey "was very unpopular with most people" and said that he was expecting more widespread praise for the firing.
The White House initially said last week that Trump was prompted to fire Comey after reading the Rosenstein letter.