The conversation, during a May 10 meeting - the day after he fired Comey - reinforces the notion that Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian operatives.
That would surely include Trump's firing of Comey.
It can mean the "target" or "subject" of an investigation, but it can also mean someone merely "mentioned once speculatively", observed criminal defense attorney Ken White. Comey confirmed the existence of the investigation in March, telling Congress that his agents were investigating Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the election and whether anyone in the Trump campaign had been involved.
The White House on Friday predicted that the investigation would back up Trump's account.
One government official interviewed by the Times claimed Trump's talk of "pressure" was a negotiation tactic, meant to press upon Moscow that its meddling in the 2016 elections had raised problems for the president, and to induce Russian Federation into diplomatic concessions.
No date has yet been set for the open session hearing, though the statement said it would take place after the Memorial Day holiday, May 29.
The White House has been thrown into turmoil by a succession of stunning allegations against the president this week, including that he may have obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop an investigation into one of his top advisors.
The highly anticipated testimony of former FBI Director James Comey was announced by Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) Friday. Trump also called Comey a "nut job".
That flies in the face of the White House's public insistence that Comey's dismissal was not linked to his ongoing investigation.
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A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said he would not discuss information provided in classified briefings and said the House Oversight committee had already asked for documents related to Comey's firing.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the New York Times in a statement that Comey had behaved politically and put unnecessary pressure on the president's ability to conduct diplomacy with Russian Federation on matters such as Syria, ukraine and the Islamic State. "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".
"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation", he said.
House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in response to the reports "every day the president gives us more reason to believe that he does not respect the office that he holds".
Comey is known to produce memos documenting especially sensitive or unsettling encounters, such as after the February meeting.
Among Trump's senior White House advisers are several former campaign officials, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway.
The Washington Post report underscored the seriousness of the investigation into possible collusion, which was taken over earlier this week by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was appointed as a special prosecutor.
"Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader", Rosenstein said. But he added, "I wrote it".
She said it's a "ridiculous statement" for Trump to make and results in "elevating the Russians as his confidante at the expense of our justice system".