As Trump sets off on first overseas trip, he strongly denies allegations

WASHIGNTON, D.C. (NBC) – On the eve of an international trip, President Donald Trump didn’t back down from swirling criticism about Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election as well as connections with people close to the president.

In his first news conference since the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, President Trump called the appointment of a special counsel a witch hunt.

The president will start a nine day, five city overseas trip later today.

He’s hoping to leave the investigations behind.

Standing next to the president of Columbia President Donald Trump answered questions about the evolving Russian investigation, and the decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. “I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt and uh there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can only speak for myself and the Russians, zero,” said President Donald Trump

The president again denying he asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn before firing Comey. “No, no, next question,” declared the President.

But questions still remain on the motive, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein briefed the Senate on the investigation, hinting the president knew what he wanted before Comey’s dismissal. “He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, (D) Missouri.

Meanwhile Rosenstein briefs the House today on Russia probe. “Clearly Russia was very much involved in trying to undermine public confidence of our elections,” said Senator John Cornyn, (R) Texas.

In the search for a new FBI director President Trump met with former Senator Joe Lieberman.

Democrats ruling out candidates with political backgrounds, while some Republicans say the former democratic senator turned independent would be a good fit.

The president says he’s close to a decision on a new FBI director.

Edward Lawrence, NBC News.

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