Putin rushes to Trump's defense, laments US infighting

Putin rushes to Trump's defense, laments US infighting

Two sources close to Comey told NPR that Trump asked Comey to scuttle an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn the day after he resigned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to help President Donald Trump out: He says he'll give Congress records of that controversial meeting Trump had with Russian envoys.

"I believe it hurts our country terribly because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not unified country", Efe quoted Mr. Trump as saying. A day before Comey's meeting with Trump, Flynn had been ousted for what the White House said were misleading accounts of his conversations with Russia's USA ambassador.

"What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command", the Deputy Attorney General added. This raised questions about whether the president improperly attempted to interfere with a federal investigation.

It later emerged that Comey had made notes of his meetings with Trump, who reportedly asked him to quash an investigation into Flynn's contacts with foreign governments.

As special counsel, Mueller will have full authorization to direct the Russia investigation, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with Trump's campaign, and any other matters.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said late Tuesday that the developments had reached "a point where it's of Watergate size and scale".

As the controversy swirled, Trump said in a speech to U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates in CT he did not get elected "to serve the Washington media or special interests".

Oil rises sharply as Saudi, Russia back supply cuts into 2018
The world oil supply in 2016 averaged 95.82 mbpd, representing an increase of 0.34 mbd compared to a year ago. UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said he saw a 60 percent probability of OPEC extending output cuts.

Republicans, frustrated by the president's relentless parade of problems, largely sought to cool the heated climate with assurances they would get to the bottom of scandals.

The scheduled hearing comes after The New York Times published a report Tuesday claiming Comey wrote a memo about his conversation with President Trump. An increasing number of Republicans, too, have joined in calling for Congress to dig deeper, especially after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey who had been leading the bureau's probe.

Sharing the information isn't against the law, but it is a profoundly risky move that sets back USA intelligence gathering efforts, especially in the fight against the Islamic State. That began to change after Trump fired Comey on May 9 and continued this week with a report that Trump revealed highly classified intelligence to senior Russian officials, followed by news of his request to drop the Flynn probe.

Israeli intelligence agents were concerned that information given to Russian Federation could be passed on to Iran, it reported. "But whether it will be given any credibility - I can tell you its credibility would be less than zero", Schiff said. "I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead".

If Vladimir Putin sticks to his word and releases his copy of the transcript from the meeting, pressure could mount that forces the Trump administration to release their copy of the same meeting.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, called the memo as reported "powerful evidence of obstruction of justice".

Trump did not offer any commentary on Twitter and did not directly address the controversies during a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy, though he delivered a broadside against the forces he sees as working against him.

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