President Trump Calls Ousted FBI Chief 'Showboat' in Lester Holt Interview

Saturday, 13 May, 2017

Trump was also bothered that Comey was often asked about the Russian Federation investigation and repeatedly questioned his loyalty and judgement, the Post reported, also based on anonymous sources. It's the explanation offered by Vice-President Mike Pence, as well as the initial one from several White House spokespeople.

"That is not accurate", McCabe said in response to a senator's question.

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.

Watch the full interview on NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The White House refused Wednesday to provide any evidence or greater detail.

Asked by Holt if by firing Comey he was trying to send a message to his successor to "lay off" the investigation into Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 election, Trump said, "I'm not".

But McCabe contradicted that statement during the hearing Thursday. He said there has been no interference so far.

"I know I'm not under investigation", Trump told Holt. "He said, "you are not under investigation". Trump added that he'd spoken with Comey over dinner and twice over the phone. But the revelation intensified the pressure on the White House from both political parties to explain the motives behind Comey's stunning ouster.

The Senate intelligence committee's top Democrat, Mark Warner, said in light of Comey's firing, "It is important to restate the critical importance of protecting the independence and integrity of federal law enforcement". Republican leaders brushed off the idea as unnecessary.

Trump then started talking like a Mafia boss who just whacked Comey.

"We finally agree on something Rosie", Trump wrote Thursday afternoon on Twitter.

He also called the Russian Federation inquiry a "highly significant investigation", countering the White House depiction of it as "probably one of the smallest things" that the FBI has "got going on their plate". "Someone could file a bar complaint, and/or one with DOJ's office of professional responsibility, if Sessions had a conflict of interest when it came to the firing decision, and if he did not follow the ethics rules, including those of DOJ by acting when he had a conflict of interest", legal ethics expert Norman Eisen tells me.

In that context, the move can be seen as purely a personnel decision based on Comey's conduct, and Sessions should have been involved given his job as attorney general, said Susan Hennessey, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and managing editor of the Lawfare blog.

But Rosenstein's own role in Comey's firing became increasingly murky Wednesday.

Donald Trump says he's not under investigation.

"The FBI has been in turmoil", Mr Trump claimed.

Trump himself signaled his continued preoccupation with the matter Thursday afternoon, sending a message on Twitter citing his longtime nemesis, comedian Rosie O'Donnell, who called for Comey's dismissal in December. "My decision", he said.

He also said Mr Comey had "broad support" within the agency, which contradicted White House officials.