American press didn't have access to the meeting on May 10 between President Donald Trump and Russian diplomats, but notes from the meeting- apparently distributed to a number of White House and other government officials- were leaked to the New York Times.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer didn't deny the comments, but said, "The president has always emphasized the importance of making deals with Russian Federation as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues..."
The White House has responded to a NY Times report that President Donald Trump fired Comey, saying that it had relieved the "great pressure" that had developed due to the Russian Federation probe.
He added, "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it".
"He's already on thin ice after his attempt to defend the president's discussion of intelligence with the Russians, and he urged the president to do this trip, which may have been a bad idea", said one US official.
The president's frustration has been building since he abruptly fired Comey.
In the remarks, Rosenstein said he learned a day before Comey's firing that Trump wanted to dismiss him.
And earlier in the day, during a private lunch of television anchors at the White House, Trump said he believes the decision to appoint a special counsel "hurts our country terribly" and called it "a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election". "I think it shows division, and it shows that we're not together as a country".
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress he stands by a memo he wrote that the White House has cited as a justification for the firing last week of FBI Director James Comey.
Trump later said he had already made a decision to fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein's memo, which the deputy attorney general confirmed to Congress this week.
Trump has denied he asked Comey to do that, though Comey wrote a memo after their encounter memorializing Trump's words to that effect ("I hope you can let this go"), according to sources close to the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director.
Earlier this week, NPR confirmed that Trump had asked Comey to scuttle the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, according to a memo of the account written by Comey.
As special counsel, Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters", according to the Justice Department order Rosenstein signed.
During his closed-door meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office this month, President Trump said that firing F.B.I. "Zero", Trump said, at a joint news conference Thursday afternoon with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.
Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak was controversial before news of talk about Comey ever came out. No American reporters were allowed in to document the meeting, only a Russian Foreign Ministry photographer.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy tweeted in response to the latest revelation, "This is what obstruction looks like..."