Trump Says He Planned to Fire 'Showboat' FBI Chief All Along

When that meeting concluded after roughly 30 minutes, the two senators emerged to tell reporters that Comey's firing wasn't discussed, but rather how to make sure the Senate probe didn't interfere with the FBI's. Warner, who called Comey a "straight shooter", raised questions about Rosenstein's involvement in the investigation following the circumstances of the former FBI director's firing, but said he thought the deputy AG had listened to his concerns.

"There's a big thing going on which is spying, you can call it anything you want - the unmasking and the spying - and to me that's the big story right now", he raved.

But Trump acknowledged during the interview that he'd considered the potential ramification of his decision on the inquiry.

White House officials had said earlier in the week that Trump asked Sessions and Rosenstein for their opinions about Comey, and then Trump acted on those recommendations. His first question to McCabe was whether he heard Comey ever tell Trump he was not the subject of any investigations. She asked McCabe if the FBI usually tells people that they are not a target of investigation. "We consider it to be a highly significant investigation", he said instead. It is the greatest honour of my professional life to have worked with him.

In his letter Tuesday firing Comey, Trump said Comey had told him three times that he was not under investigation.

Comey did not say he asked Justice for more money or FBI agents to expand the Russian Federation investigation, as one official told NBC News Wednesday - and as was reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post and others. "It's a phony investigation", he tells at a campaign rally in the state of Florida.

Leaders of the USA intelligence agencies, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA chief Mike Pompeo, testified to the senators on Thursday that they agreed with that finding.

The president denied have any "collusion" with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

McCabe forcefully pushed back against this claim and stated that "the vast majority of Federal Bureau of Investigation employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey". Several congressional panels are also investigating Russia's role in the election.

Senator Mark Warner, the senior Democrat on the committee, said: "It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the President's decision to remove Director Comey was related to this investigation and that is truly unacceptable".

Trump's characterization was odds with that of the top Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Very smart guy. The Democrats like him.

The letter informing Mr Comey of the decision, signed by Mr Trump, said he was acting on their recommendation. The senators said later that the Russian Federation investigations were discussed but Comey's firing was not.

A New York Times report further claims that Mr Trump had asked for a pledge of loyalty from Mr Comey during a dinner in January.