Former FBI director James Comey has agreed to publicly testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his role in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the committee announced Friday.
"I just fired the head of the F.B.I". No American reporters were allowed in to document the meeting, only a Russian Foreign Ministry photographer. The Times said its source was a US official, reading from a document summarizing Trump's meeting last week with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador.
The announcement came after the New York Times published the latest story chronicling President Trump's relationship with Comey over the onetime FBI chief's handling of the Bureau's Russian Federation probe.
As special counsel, Mueller will direct an FBI counterintelligence investigation examining whether Russian Federation coordinated with Trump campaign associates to influence the election in his behalf.
House members and senators said Rosenstein in his briefings steered clear of specifics in answering questions about his appointment of Mueller but made clear the former FBI director, will have wide latitude to pursue the investigation, potentially including criminal charges.
White House officials hope the trip, complete with images of the accompanying pomp and pageantry of a president overseas, will help Mr Trump recalibrate after one of the most hard stretches of his young presidency.
Rosenstein, who on Wednesday appointed a special counsel to investigate possible Russia-Trump campaign coordination during the 2016 presidential campaign, made his appearances before Congress as Trump was preparing to leave for his first foreign trip as president.
"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia", Spicer said. He initially believed that he could school the new President and White House in what was appropriate during their communications. The firing was followed by assertions that Trump tried dissuading the FBI boss from pressing an investigation into his first national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Rosenstein denied media reports from last week that Comey had asked him for additional resources for his investigation before Trump fired him.
The White House is again denying allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation after a story from The Washington Post said an investigation has identified a White House official as a "significant person of interest".
The Justice Department on Friday issued the text of Rosenstein's opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.
As special counsel, Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters", according to the Justice Department order Rosenstein signed.
Mr Trump has agreed to a defence cooperation deal with the Saudis, pledging 110 billion U.S. dollars effective immediately and up to 350 billion USA dollars over 10 years. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.
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". Comey gave Fitzgerald complete discretion to conduct the investigation, bolstering the special counsel's independence. However, at a combative news conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.
Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak was controversial before news of talk about Comey ever came out.