Ex-FBI Director asked for money to investigate Russian ties

DAYS before he was fired, FBI Director James Comey had sought more money and staff to investigate Russia's connection to the Trump campaign.

The New York Times reports that Mr Comey asked Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who also wrote the Justice Department's memo that was used to justify the firing of Mr Comey, for the resources.

Sarah Isgur Flores, Justice Department spokeswoman, said "the idea that he asked for more funding" for the Russia investigation was "totally false."

It came as US President Donald Trump defended his shock sacking of Mr Comey.

When asked at the White House on Wednesday why he fired Mr Comey, he replied: "Because he wasn't doing a good job. Very simply, he was not doing a good job."He also said the firing wouldn't impact his administration's relations with Moscow as he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Washington.

"President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, businesslike pragmatic relations," Mr Lavrov told journalists.

Mr Trump said the pair spoke at length about Syria and its government's use of chemical weapons on its own people.

"We had a very, very good meeting with Mr Lavrov," Mr Trump told reporters after the talks. "We want to see the killing, the horrible killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working toward that end."

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, filling in for Sean Spicer who is on Navy duty, said Mr Trump had considered firing Mr Comey "since the day he was elected".

She said the White House did not believe that a special prosecutor was needed to be appointed to conduct the Russia investigation but encouraged the FBI to complete its current probe.

"There is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia," she said.

News Corp Australia

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