President Donald Trump's stunning firing of FBI director James Comey throws into question the future of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign's possible connections to Russian Federation and immediately raised suspicions of an underhanded effort to stymie a probe that has shadowed the administration from the outset.
The cascade of Wednesday media stories heightened the furor that threatens to derail Trump's agenda, his credibility and the US government as a whole.
Warner said he believes that outside of Washington, there's strong public interest in examining any ties to Russian interference in American elections. The move was classic Trump: audacious, unexpected and controversial.
"After Spicer spent several minutes hidden in the darkness and among the bushes near these sets, Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions, as long as he was not filmed doing so", the article said.
Trump fought for control of the narrative in his usual way.
The revelation has fuelled concerns that Mr Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency.
The news was bad for him.
"After Rosenstein had been given as the reason by the White House, he 'threatened to resign, '" Tapper explained, reading that report.
In his letter informing Comey he was sacked, Trump seemed to imply that Comey's actions had resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation losing the trust of the public.
Comey reportedly made the request during a meeting last week with Rosenstein, who ultimately wrote the Justice Department memo justifying his ouster.
Mr Comey's surprise dismissal on Tuesday stunned Washington and plunged Donald Trump deeper into a controversy over his campaign's alleged ties with Russian Federation.
But Democrats criticizing Trump's stunning move say the two cases are similar because Comey was overseeing an FBI investigation into both Russia's hacking of Democratic groups previous year and whether Trump campaign associates had ties to Moscow's election interference.
President Trump said the decision to sack Comey had been based on "clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions".
House Speaker Paul Ryan soundly rejected calls for a special prosecutor in the investigation of US-Russia collusion and said the next course of action is to quickly replace the FBI director.
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC on Wednesday that he and the panel's Republican chairman asked Mr. Comey to testify before the panel next Tuesday, but haven't been given an answer. "When things calm down, they will be thanking me!"
While now immersed in political controversy, Comey was praised for his independence after he pushed back against Bush-era domestic surveillance.
Other Republicans are standing by the president, including the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, Jennifer Carnahan.
Manchin and other committee members are calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed to take over the investigation.
If so, Trump's exasperation with the former director accelerated at a brisk clip in May. That investigation, though, could soon depend on people far too close to those under investigation.
He's the top Justice Department official in charge of the Trump investigation.
"This scandal is going to go on".
Sen. Franken sees a parallel to Watergate. "It is done, and I will be fine".
"I expect to learn more in the coming days".
As comparisons to Watergate swirled, President Trump met with President Richard Nixon's secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. Earlier in the day, as if to mock the suggestion that there was anything amiss in his dealings with Russian Federation, he met with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador. Richard Burr of North Carolina, chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, which like the FBI is investigating Russian ties to the Trump campaign and meddling in the 2016 election. There was no immediate word on whether he would do so.
"No matter when you made this decision, it probably would have been better had he made the decision during the administration change, if you lose trust, you got to change", McCarthy said during a public appearance in San Francisco Wednesday evening.