MIAMI (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump heads overseas for the first time as Commander-In-Chief, but he leaves behind a cloud of confused lawmakers still grappling with the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Thirty minutes into his flight to Saudi Arabia, two new bombshells landed not far from all the others that have hit his administration the last week and a half.
The New York Times reports that the president, when speaking with Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting the day after he fired James Comey, said, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” According to a document summarizing the meeting, he added, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off,” he added.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not deny the account.
This seems to confirm that the true reason behind Comey’s firing was because he thought it might ease some of the political pressure over the FBI’s Russia investigation.
Minutes later, the Washington Post came out with its own scoop, reporting that a senior aide to the president is a person of interest in the Russia investigation. A New York Magazine reporter later named that aide as the president’s son in law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner had meetings with Russian officials during the transition, which were not disclosed at the time.
These revelations come as the former FBI director will in fact testify in front of the senate intelligence committee sometime after Memorial Day.
On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein briefed lawmakers in a classified hearing as a special prosecutor takes the reigns on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Rosenstein arrived on Capitol Hill to brief House members on the president’s decision to fire Comey.
“He at least implied that the memo was part of the decision-making process or the decision confirming process,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA).
Rosenstein admitted the president was going to fire Comey regardless, but still wrote a memo outlining reasons for his dismissal. He told lawmakers, “I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it.”
Rosenstein also shot down reports that Comey had asked for more resources to conduct the FBI investigation into alleged Trump campaign connections with Russia.
“He has no evidence that Comey asked for any further resources,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Lawmakers on both sides agreed – former FBI Director Robert Mueller is a good choice to lead the investigation.
“Mueller’s a pro. Come on now,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MA).
There’s bi-partisan backing on the issue.
“I do believe that there was great consensus that going after the Russians for interference in our election is a bipartisan issue, one that both sides need to get resolved before the next election,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Lawmakers say they will work with Director Mueller to ensure that congressional investigations won’t interfere with the criminal investigation.
As for who will lead the FBI, White House officials confirmed they will not be naming a new FBI Director nominee today.