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Top Republican spurns calls for special prosecutor on Russian Federation

12 Mai 2017

They could have made it in the early weeks of the presidency.

Who was to blame? Several Republicans joined them in raising alarms of how it could affect probes into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian Federation to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Trump's move shocked and dismayed members on both sides of the aisle, and raised the possibility that more Republicans could back an independent probe, though for now the GOP leadership in the Senate seems to be digging in its heels. But the Administration indicated today that it has other plans, underscoring how the White House wants to maintain tighter control of the bureau.

Pictured for the first time since he fired Comey, Trump stood in the White House, grinning widely, as he shook the hand of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak - the very man several of his associates have said they met with during last year's campaign.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Wednesday told reporters that Sessions should "absolutely" have a role in choosing the next director.

Wednesday on Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show", conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan said White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was correct when he said the media was the opposition party.

Comey's dismissal came just as the investigation into Russia's ties to Trump aides appeared to be gaining momentum. The speaker said he didn't think a special prosecutor was a "good idea", and the investigations into Russia's influence in the election being conducted by the FBI and congressional intelligence committees were the appropriate outlets. Members of Congress are saying they were - they were specifically briefed by Comey that he wanted to expand the investigation and was asking for more prosecutors.

Sessions in March announced a recusal policy that legal ethics experts say was broader than required by the Justice Department.

The Senate's minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, said Rosenstein should appoint a special prosecutor, and he also called on McConnell to hold closed and potentially classified briefings with all US senators to question the top Justice Department officials, Sessions and Rosenstein. On several occasions, he referred the inquiring reporter to the Justice Department. That commitment was "previously scheduled", according to White House communications director Mike Dubke.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who stayed mum on the subject for most of Wednesday, also defended Trump's decision while also emphasizing the president could have done so when he assumed power in January. The White House says that Trump then asked Rosenstein to put that recommendation into writing, which he did. Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is leading the department while the Justice Department determines who will step in as acting director. And Trump also tapped Christie to serve as the administration's crusader against the opioid menace.

Meantime, inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation, morale among agents had taken a beating months before last night's firing of Director James Comey.

He argued that Democrats would have had the same reaction no matter when Trump fired Comey.

Comey: One is he wasn't Hilary Clinton.

The White House says it encourages the FBI to complete its investigation, but it is unknown who will take over the case.

Was Sessions involved? "That's something you should ask the Department of Justice", Spicer said.

Television screens in the Los Angeles field office began flashing the news as he spoke, and he initially chuckled.

The ouster stunned Washington and plunged Trump deeper into a controversy over his campaign's alleged ties with Russian Federation that has dogged the early days of his presidency.

So if the White House does attempt to invoke executive privilege to silence Comey, Wright said, Watergate will inevitably be a big part of the debate.

Of course, this law passed under a different presidential administration from the one that fired the independent prosecutor.

But as the response grew more critical, Trump ordered his press staff to get out and defend him.