An unnamed American official read out a summary of the meeting to the Times. He maintained that Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe was "wrong and unfair".
House members leaving a briefing by the deputy attorney general on the probe of connections between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's presidential campaign say they're frustrated at not getting answers.
"It's nearly always true that when a president goes on a big foreign trip, especially one that has some important summits. that dominates the news and knocks most other stuff out", said Republican strategist Charlie Black.
Trump also changed his story once again about the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing, returning again to the White House's original rationale that he based his decision on Rosenstein's recommendation.
Yesterday, Rosenstein spoke to the Senate on his own role in Comey's dismissal.
"I have known Jim Comey since approximately 2002", he continued.
"He subsequently has said that he believed he was obligated to send the letter", Rosenstein said on Friday.
Rosenstein briefed senators Thursday afternoon in a classified, closed-door meeting.
As special counsel he is, in short, well placed to get to the bottom of whether or not there was collusion between the Russians and the Trump camp ahead of the election and, equally significantly, what led up to Trump's sacking of Comey. Rosenstein said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader".
Pressed by Blumenthal on whether Rosenstein, as a Trump appointee, would have an inherent "conflict of interest", Comey fell back on his judgment of Rosenstein's character. "My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination", he said.
But at nearly the very same time Trump was citing the memo, Rosenstein himself was telling senators that Trump's explanation is nothing but a pretext.
Benjamn Wittes, who runs a blog called Lawfare and describes himself as a Comey confidant, shared an extensive readout on his site Thursday of what he says Comey told him about his relationship with Trump.
Some lawmakers expressed concern after Friday's briefing that the session caused more confusion. But in important respects, the memo raises more questions than it answers. But some Democratic lawmakers have emerged troubled from the briefings, in which Rosenstein explained his decision to appoint the special counsel. "That's taken off." Mr. Trump added, "I'm not under investigation". There was also the now-infamous dinner in which Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn, which the FBI Director refused to do. But when you're six foot, eight inches tall, it's hard to blend in forever, and Trump ultimately singled him out - and did so with the most damning faint praise possible: "Oh, and there's Jim". 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.
"There were questions well outside the Russian scope in there", Issa said. At no time during their meeting, which was off-limits to American news media, did anyone discuss the reports of Chechnya's roundup, detention, torture and murder of gay and bisexual men, which a Russian investigation now claims is just "propaganda".
Trump's terse denial followed reports by Reuters and other media about a memo written by Comey alleging that Trump made the request to close down the investigation into Michael Flynn and Russian Federation in February.
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