Russia Investigation Looking at Sr. White House Official: Report
And Trump told Russian officials firing Comey took a 'great pressure' off him
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 3:06 PM CDT
President Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, gives a thumbs-up as they walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 19, 2017, to board Marine One for a short trip...   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – President Trump told Russian officials that firing James Comey took a "great pressure" off him in regard to the ongoing investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Russia, the New York Times reports. He also told Russian officials the former FBI director was "crazy, a real nut job." The quotes come from a document summarizing Trump's May 10 meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. The document is being treated as the official account of the meeting, and Sean Spicer didn't dispute its contents. It appears to be another incidence of Trump claiming he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, contradicting the official reason given by the White House. One official says Trump was attempting a negotiating tactic on the Russians, making them feel bad about the political pressure they caused for him.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign now includes a current White House official as a significant person of interest. Sources close to the investigation say it's now looking at a senior White House adviser close to the president. While the official isn't being identified, current White House officials that have admitted to having contact with Russian officials include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, and Rex Tillerson. While the investigation is ramping up to interviews and subpoenas, sources with knowledge of it say that doesn't mean criminal charges are a given.

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