White House doesn't dispute Trump called Comey a 'nut job' to Russians

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"That's taken off", he said.

The NY Times cited a document read to the paper by an American official.

The Times said the document was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office.

"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation".

Earlier this week, the Justice Department appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller to take over the federal investigation in an effort to re-establish independence from the White House.

In this May 3, 2017, file photo, FBI Director James Comey listens on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it", Spicer said, adding that the real story was the leaks of "private and highly classified conversations".

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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. He did not provide examples or evidence of any alleged "illegal acts". Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly informed members of Congress of this on Friday, according to McClatchy.

In a written statement, Trump insisted anew there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russian Federation.

"As the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity", Spicer said. "I look forward to this matter concluding quickly". They said the probe will likely accelerate in the coming weeks, and while a current Trump official is under scrutiny, investigators are more focused on former Trump advisers and aides, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Then, Trump undermined his own staff by telling NBC's Lester Holt, in an interview on May 11, that he was going to fire Comey "regardless of recommendation". Multiple congressional panels are also digging into questions surrounding Trump and Russian Federation. During a commencement address Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy, he complained bitterly about criticism he's faced.

The White House has struggled to explain the chain of events that led Mr Comey's firing - and who exactly made the decision. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov - on Syria, Ukraine and other issues - by saying that Russian meddling in last year's election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.

The Washington Post story reported that the probe into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation had identified a senior White House adviser who is close to the president as a "significant person of interest".

Trump denied that charge at a press conference on Thursday.

But, wait, there was more: Comey, the Senate Intelligence Committee said Friday evening, has agreed to publicly testify before it some time after Memorial Day.

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