Donald Trump this week: Comey, Russia and a memo
U.S. President Donald Trump faced a series of major controversies this week that have thrown his administration into chaos.
From the uproar over his firing of FBI Director James Comey to questions about sharing highly classified intelligence with Russia and questions around a memo regarding his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn have created on-going problems for the White House.
And now Trump says he isn’t being treated very well.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,” Trump said during a speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut Wednesday. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
May 9: Donald Trump to James Comey, ‘You’re fired’
Trump fires Comey in a letter where he thanks the FBI director for “informing me, on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.”
Multiple reports emerge that Comey had requested more resources for the FBI investigation into Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia during the election.
The White House denied Trump’s decision had anything to do with Russia. Instead, the White House said he fired Comey at the recommendation of the deputy attorney general.
Democrats and others raised questions about whether Trump’s actions constitute “obstruction of justice.”
May 10: Trump-Russia meeting
On May 10, Trump held a closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak.
Kislyak is the ambassador linked to controversial meetings with Trump associates Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The New York Times reports that in the meeting he told the Russians that firing Comey, whom he called a “nut-job” had eased the pressure from the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia.
May 11: Trump’s interview with NBC
WATCH ABOVE: Trump interview with NBC anchor Lester Holt
Trump contradicts himself and his administration’s talking points telling NBC News that he would have fired Comey “regardless” of what the Justice Department said.
“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” Trump said in an interview. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”
Trump had previously said he fired Comey on the recommendation of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein who cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation as reason for dismissal.
Trump’s comments called into question the legitimacy of his firing the person responsible for investigating his ties with Russia.
May 15: What did Donald Trump share with Russia?
The Washington Post, citing anonymous officials, reported Trump shared highly classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the closed-door meeting, which is confirmed by other news outlets including The Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
The White House says the reports are false but doesn’t provide any details.
“The premise of the [Post] article was false – that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security,” national security advisor H.R. McMaster told reporters.
According to the Post, the intelligence Trump shared involved an Islamic State plot to use bombs hidden in laptop computers to bring down planes. Multiple reports say the source of the information is Israel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin later came to Trump’s defence saying he was willing to handover transcripts of Trump’s May 10 meeting to reassure U.S. lawmakers.
May 16: Surprise! Trump sends out a Tweet
Trump says via Twitter he gave the Russians information for counterterrorism purposes and he was right to do so.
“As president, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” Trump wrote. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against Isis and terrorism.”
May 16: The Comey memo
WATCH ABOVE: Former FBI Director Mueller named to investigate Trump-Russia ties
The New York Times reports Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked him to drop any investigation into former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, during an Oval Office meeting in February.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump said, according to the memo.
More questions about obstruction of justice begin to swirl with some senators and congressmen theorizing any Comey notes or recordings could be subpoenaed.
Speculation again rises about impeachment and the 25th Amendment which allows for the removal of the president if a majority of the cabinet informs Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
The next day, House of Representatives say they will hold a hearing on May 24 to investigate if Trump interfered in the FBI investigation. James Comey is asked to testify.
It’s announced former FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee the federal investigation into allegations of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
Trump, however, is certain the investigation won’t find anything untoward.
“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday evening.
May 18: It’s a witch hunt!
WATCH ABOVE: Trump stands by ‘witch hunt’ comments on Russia investigation
Reuters reports Michael Flynn and other advisers to Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with ties to the Kremlin in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race.
Trump lashes out again in the face of rising pressure in Washington, D.C. following the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s ties with Russia Thursday, repeatedly calling it an unprecedented “witch hunt” that “hurts our country terribly.”
“Well I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt,” Trump said, insisting there had been “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.
*With files from the Associated Press
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