Trump denies Comey allegations, collusion with Russian Federation

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"That's what I want to be focused on, because there's no collusion".

Trump said there was "no collusion" but added that he can only speak for himself. Claire McCaskill, after a Senate meeting with Rosenstein, said Rosenstein was aware Comey would be fired before writing the memo justifying Comey's firing.

While Miller said it is standard practice for an Federal Bureau of Investigation director to record potentially inappropriate conversations and behavior, Comey could have taken a different approach when speaking with the president.

On the subject of the allegations - started in July 2016 by the Hillary Clinton campaign and embraced by Democrats and some of the media since her surprise defeat in November - that he and his campaign colluded with Russia, Trump said that "the entire thing has been a witch hunt".

"The drug epidemic is poisoning too many American lives, and we're going to stop it", Mr. Trump said.

Trump sent shockwaves across Washington last week by unceremoniously sacking his FBI director - a virtually unprecedented move that came as James Comey was heading an investigation into Team Trump's links to Russian Federation.

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Asked earlier in the brief session with reporters about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's decision to appoint a special counsel to take over the FBI's investigation, Trump replied: "I respect the decision".

The White House on Tuesday sought to tamp down the controversy with national security adviser HR McMaster telling reporters that what the president shared with the Russian officials "was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he's engaged". Trump said he acted because Comey, who had been overseeing the Russian Federation investigation, "wasn't doing a good job" leading the agency, calling him a "showboat" and a "grandstander".

But a report in the New York Times this week that Trump allegedly asked Comey to end the investigation undercut the president's rationale and has led to accusations from some in Congress that Trump was attempting to obstruct justice.

The denials amount to Trump's most extensive, public response yet to the wave of negative reports aimed at the White House and members of the Trump administration. A small number of lawmakers have raised impeachment for Trump, but analysts say that talk is premature. "We have to get back to running this country really, really well".

Later, Santos did not bite when asked about the proposed border wall, saying more diplomatically that the U.S., Colombia and other countries must work together to tamp down production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs. "You can't let them get you down, can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams". Later, though, Trump told NBC News that he would have fired Comey "regardless" and was thinking of the "Russia thing" when he did so.

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