White House Defends Changing Accounts in Comey Firing: 'Our Story Is Consistent'

Vice President Mike Pence second from left and Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy stand as President Donald Trump shakes hands with FBI Director James Comey during a reception for inaugural law enforcement officers and first responders in the Blue Ro

New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, among others, disputed Pence's statement on Wednesday, claiming that several sources that he and other Times reporters had spoken with claimed Trump initiated the review.

Trump, she said, wants Justice Department officials "to continue with whatever they see appropriate and sees fit, just the same as he's encouraged the House and Senate committees to continue any ongoing investigations".

Trump also says he chose to fire Comey before his Monday meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - a revelation that indicates the rationale he provided to Comey in a letter announcing his termination was a pretext.

Trump also reiterated his claim that Comey personally told him that he was not under investigation by the FBI for possible connections to Russian Federation.

The White House used that assertion to justify Comey's firing.

The senator said the firing could have been an attempt to impede the investigation.

During his first public appearance as the FBI's top official, before the Senate Intelligence Committee midday Thursday, McCabe quickly summarized his long, close working relationship with Comey and said he holds the former director in the "absolute highest regard".

"The FBI investigation is picking up speed, and my concern, and the concern of many of my colleagues, is that the FBI director was sacked because he was beginning to get too close", Coons said Thursday on CNN's "New Day," according to The Hill. And after Nixon's firings, Brinkley said, a number of Republicans "started going after the leader of their own party" and that has not happened yet in Trump's case.

It would be highly unusual for someone who might be the focus of an FBI probe to ask whether he was under investigation and to be directly told by the FBI director that he was not. Fair enough. But he is only doing so to distract from the inescapable fact that the President has fired the director of the FBI while the FBI is carrying out an active criminal investigation into his inner circle. Former FBI agents said such a statement by the director would be all but unthinkable.

In the NBC interview, Mr. Trump also said he asked Mr. Comey on at least one occasion whether he was under investigation. "Well I can't talk about it", he told Fox News's Jeanine Pirro in a new interview.

A day after a White House spokeswoman called the FBI's Russian Federation investigation "probably one of the smallest things that they've got going on their plate, ' McCabe disagreed, calling it "a highly significant investigation". He said there has been no interference so far.

Sanders also said that the White House would "love" for the investigation "to be completed so that we can all move on".

Second, he said if the Federal Bureau of Investigation were to ask for more resources, the request would be made of Congress (which appropriates money) rather than the executive branch.

"I'll tell you this", Trump said, repeating, "if Russian Federation or anybody else is trying to interfere with our elections I think it's a disgusting thing and I want to get to the bottom of it and I want to make sure it will never ever happen". But the revelation intensified the pressure on the White House from both political parties to explain the motives behind Comey's stunning ouster. Some Dems have questioned the timing of Comey's sacking as that investigation is gaining steam.

And Trump himself tweeted later Wednesday, "Dems have been complaining for months & months about Dir". Rosenstein wrote a letter blasting Comey for his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer was given multiple opportunities Friday to deny that President Trump is recording his conversations. They suggested Trump was persuaded to take the step by Justice Department officials and a scathing memo, written by Rosenstein, criticizing the director's role in the Clinton investigation.

McCabe told senators it is not standard FBI practice to tell people if they are under investigation.

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