"No, no - next question", Trump said when asked at a White House news conference on Thursday (May 18) whether he pressured then-FBI Director James Comey in February to drop an investigation into former White House adviser Michael Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation and Turkey.
"Believe me - there's no collusion. Russian Federation is fine, but whether it is Russian Federation or anybody else, my total priority, believe me, is the United States of America", Trump added.
"Everybody, even my enemies, have said there is no collusion", he maintained. "So we want to get back and keep on the track that we're on".
"Trump feels really, really, really, bad about firing him, and he genuinely thinks if the investigation is over Flynn can come back", said one White House official. "And I think that's going to increasingly be the question asked of Republicans". "Because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such awful things about Director Comey", Trump said.
"We need a great director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI has not had that special reputation with what happened in the campaign, what happened with respect to the Clinton campaign, and even you could say directly or indirectly with respect to the much more successful Trump campaign", he said.
Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to oversee the probe on Wednesday, in an escalation of the investigation that Trump called "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" Trump repeated that he felt the probe was akin to a "witch hunt" during the Thursday press conference.
Without directly confirming the details of their conversation, Lavrov said he didn't understand what the "secret" was since the U.S. introduced a ban on laptops on airlines from some West Asian countries two months ago.
He joked that some USA media were acting like communist newspapers in the former Soviet Union and not offering real news. "I hope that we don't inadvertently trip up or damage the independent investigation of the special counsel", he said. "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go", said Trump, according to a source who read the memo. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go".
The White House was already reeling from the allegation that Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, the revelation that the president may have inadvertently passed sensitive intelligence to two top Russian officials in the Oval Office and a suggestion he made that he might be secretly recording his conversations. Tim Scott, R-S.C. "I do think that the special prosecutor provides a sense of calm and confidence perhaps for the American people, which is incredibly important".