Trump just conceded he was lying about why he fired Comey

Democrats warned that Comey's firing suggested that Trump was trying to shut down the investigation.

"I can't comment on any conversations the director may have had with the president", McCabe said.

The revelations came as senators said they would question Rosenstein.

Mr Trump has insisted he is not under investigation, and he dismissed the FBI director he fired as a "showboat" and "grandstander".

"Frankly, he'd been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, a sharply different explanation from the day before, when officials put the emphasis on new Justice complaints about Comey.

Mr McCabe, who was taking Mr Comey's place at the hearing, told senators he would not update them on their "highly significant" investigation into allegations that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 United States election and had possible ties with the Trump campaign.

The Republican chairman of the Senate panel, Richard Burr, asked McCabe whether he ever heard Comey tell Trump the president was not the subject of investigation. He said there has been no interference so far.

"I actually asked him [if I was under investigation]", Trump said, NBC News reports.

Democrats have ramped up calls for an independent investigation into the Russian Federation issue, and some Republicans in Congress have also said they were concerned about the timing of the move.

Donald Trump said he was following the advice in that memo when he made the shock decision on Tuesday to fire Comey.

However, the revelation intensified the pressure on the White House from both political parties to explain the motives behind Mr Comey's stunning ouster.

Andrew McCabe, the 20-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who took over the agency after its director was abruptly fired on May 9, contradicted the White House in his first public appearance as acting director today.

"Since the committee has an investigation going on very similar to what the Department of Justice has going on, we felt that there was a great need to set up a process for deconfliction, so that when we had witnesses that we needed to talk to, we made sure we weren't stepping on top of anything that might be an active investigation", Burr said. "And the President just admitted that he did this", Scarborough said. Republican leaders brushed off the idea as unnecessary.

The administration had implausibly insisted that Trump had grown dismayed about Comey's unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton a year ago - that he was merely agreeing with the independent concerns Rosenstein expressed to him in a meeting on Monday and in a written memo.

Mr McCabe assured senators that he would tell them if he learns of any effort to interfere with the government's investigation.

This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.

But Rosenstein's own role in Comey's firing became increasingly murky Wednesday. "I said, 'If it's possible, will you let me know, am I under investigation?' He said, 'You are not under investigation'". "All of the agents involved in the investigation are still in their positions".

Trump said Comey came to eat dinner with him at the White House. Gore had harsher words for the manner in which Trump fired Comey, which he called "atrocious".

  • Jon Douglas