Stephanopoulos pressed, "You have the president of the United States telling the Russian foreign minister in their first meeting that the pressure is off because he's fired the FBI director investigating Russian interference in the campaign".
An official from the former administration also told CNN Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem, echoing Sally Yates' testimony that Flynn could be subject to blackmail by the Russians. Trump is protective of Flynn out of a sense of loyalty, according to a Flynn associate, who said the president doesn't apply political calculations to his close personal relationships.
When Comey tried to explain to the President that leak investigations are hard to pursue because law enforcement officers often end up having to threaten to jail journalists, Trump said he should throw the journalists in jail, the source said.
The remarks come after a tumultuous couple of weeks for the Trump administration, which saw Trump fire the Federal Bureau of Investigation director May 9 and then undermine his own senior aides on his reasons for doing so. The New York Times reported that Trump allegedly referred to Comey as a "nut job" during his meeting with Lavrov. "I just fired the head of the FBI", Trump said, according to notes of the meeting read to the Times by an American official. "He was insane, a real nut job".
Donald Trump reportedly told his Russian guests that firing Mr Comey had relieved the "great pressure" his administration was under because of the Russia investigation.
Meanwhile, the White House refused to respond immediately to a request for comment on J. Brien Comey's statements. I thought he belonged in an institution. "He had three reasons three days in a row". He's a very incompetent guy. "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation". Many of those committees have asked Comey to testify, and late Friday, leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Comey will appear before the panel publicly sometime after Memorial Day. "He just kind of laughed". "I certainly want former Director Comey to be able to tell his side of the story in regards to President Trump".
But he didn't vote for Hillary Clinton either.
"The president feels as if he is hamstrung in his ability to work with Russian Federation to find areas of cooperation because this has been obviously so much in the news", said McMaster, who was present at the meeting. "We had lousy choices".
"He seemed to be saying that firing Comey would help remove one of the distractions", Wallace said.
Also worth asking: Does news of the escalated FBI investigation change the standards of what makes a "good" FBI director for Republicans? The scope of that impropriety is underlined by the reported fact that the president apparently wanted to convey his desire - his implicit instruction? - that the Flynn investigation be ended behind closed doors, with no other witnesses. He is expecting a visit from Comey and his wife to his New Jersey home in a few weeks - the same house where Comey grew up with his three siblings. "It was a dumb thing to get rid of him".
Russians bragged they could use now-ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn to influence President Donald Trump. A United States intelligence community report in January said Russian intelligence was behind the hacks, staged to undermine confidence in U.S. democracy.