Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump calls himself the victim of an historic 'witch-hunt'

He said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader".

U.S. President Donald Trump has again denied any collusion with the Krelim.

Trump clearly knew what he wanted to say as he took a few questions at a news briefing with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

He said he did not intend for the document to be a finding of misconduct or a "statement of reasons" to justify the firing, but he added: "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it".

Trump also suggested that former United States presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton had committed acts that should have been investigated by a special prosecutor.

Trump has said he expected to nominate a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director soon, and that had been expected before his departure Friday afternoon. However the White House said at midday that there would be no announcement Friday.

Earlier this week, the New York Times quoted from notes written by Trump's former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, claiming Trump, in a meeting, had asked him to back off investigating Russian Federation connections to his former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. Despite the president's furious reaction, some fellow Republicans welcomed Mueller's appointment and expressed hopes it would restore some composure to a capital plunged in chaos.

Did he urge Comey at a February meeting to drop his probe of the Russian Federation connections of Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn? But Thursday, he connected his decision to a recommendation written by his deputy attorney general. "It violated deeply engrained rules and traditions; and it guaranteed that some people would accuse the Federal Bureau of Investigation of interfering in the election".

In a chaotic news cycle moving so fast that a story risks being outdated as soon as it's published, on Thursday morning Reuters reported that members of the Trump campaign had "at least 18 calls and emails" with Russian officials during the final seven months of the 2016 election. There are now multiple reports that Trump has been urged to hire an outside attorney to help him handle the controversy. Republicans on Capitol Hill hoped the same, reasoning that the appointment of a special counsel could free them to work on a major tax overhaul and other matters without constant distractions.

"We'll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie", said Sen.

"I think it's pretty clear I have more confidence in Director Comey".

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