(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"Stand by for news": Two stories on the Russia election investigation snag Trump before his foreign trip

The president had two damning stories dog his foreign trip


Taylor Link
May 20, 2017 3:35PM (UTC)

Before President Donald Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for the first leg of his nine-day tour in the Middle East and Europe, two breaking news stories pertaining to the investigations into Russia's election interference hit the wire, appropriately bookending a tumultuous week for the Trump administration.

The New York Times reported Friday evening that the president told Russian officials in the Oval Office earlier this month that former FBI Director James Comey's firing had relieved "great pressure" on him.

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“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said, according to a document that described the meeting, which the The Times got access to via a U.S. official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump apparently added, “I’m not under investigation.”

Simultaneous to this bombshell story going online was a report from The Washington Post which revealed that the Russia probe had reached a current White House official. Law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia told The Post that they had identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest.

The White House official was described as a senior adviser who is close to the president, but sources would not identify the official's name, The Post reported. White House senior advisers such as Steven Miller and Jared Kushner have been speculated as possible officials that could be under investigation.

All this week, Trump has been hit by a steady stream of leaks regarding the Russia election investigation. Stories about Trump divulging code-name secrets to Russian officials and demanding Comey to pledge loyalty to him and his administration have rocked the White House in recent days.

On "Real Time" Friday night Bill Maher wondered if Trump will even be president by the end of his foreign trip.

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Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Fbi James Comey Jared Kushner Russia Election Interference Russia Investigation Saudi Arabia

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