Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

The degree of self-sabotage in the Trump White House is staggering

US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks to the press about President Donald Trump, former FBI Director James Comey and Russian Federation investigations as Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) looks on after a closed meeting of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, US May 17, 2017. Trump told NBC two days after firing Comey, however, that he meant to do it "regardless" of Rosenstein's recommendation.

Rosenstein said, however, that he thought Comey's decision to hold a press conference "concerning the federal grand-jury investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails" in July "was profoundly wrong".

Far from relieving pressure, that firing, and a subsequent report that Trump had asked Comey to stop an investigation in disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, ratcheted up the probe. The trip represents a chance for Mr. Trump to shift the focus of daily headlines after more than a week of raging controversy, which began when the President fired Mr. Comey, the person overseeing the Russian Federation probe.

It doesn't really leave his troubles behind, but Trump will at least have a change of scenery as he embarks on his first foreign trip as commander in chief on Friday.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday appointed a special counsel to lead the FBI's Russian Federation investigation - one day after The Times reported that Trump had pressured James Comey, the FBI director whom Trump fired on May 9, to drop the bureau's probe into Flynn. Mr. Flynn allegedly told friends last month he was still in contact with Mr. Trump, who urged him to "stay strong" in the face of the investigation, according to a report Thursday from Yahoo News.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters that if the special counsel gets to a point where the investigation is interfering, then they will have that conversation.

Comey will certainly be asked about encounters that precipitated his firing, including a January dinner in which, Comey has told associates, Trump asked for his loyalty. "That's taken off", the president reportedly said.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!" The reports contains one particularly scandalous scoop about the time Comey tried to hide from Trump by camouflaging himself in some White House curtains during a post-inauguration ceremony. "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to a document that summarized the sitdown, the New York Times reported.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the memo the president initially cited as justification for firing FBI Director James Comey.

From there, Trump will attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Belgium and then a G7 summit in Sicily, before heading back to the U.S.

The House and Senate intelligence committees are leading the investigatory charge on Russian Federation, but a smattering of other committees - including the Senate Judiciary committee and its subcommittee on crime and terrorism, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee - have also opened related probes. Flynn has figured prominently in the FBI investigation into Russian Federation and the election.

Spicer also told the Times: "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it".

The Russian government is accused by United States intelligence of trying to tilt the 2016 election in Trump's favor.

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.

John Feehery, a Republican consultant and former congressional spokesman, said most of Trump's voters probably won't care.

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