President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey amid a widening investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Trump’s decision to dismiss Mr Comey on Monday has created an unprecedented crisis for the White House and left it in the midst of a probe into his decision to fire Mr Comey in the first place.
“As far as I know, he has the full support of the president,” a White House official said of Mr Trump, who was in New York to attend a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York Times.
“I know he’s got the full confidence of the entire administration.
But I think that he’s going to have to find a way … to explain what exactly happened and what he did to him and the way it happened.”
A spokesman for Mr Trump said the president had not decided whether he would seek to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Russian interference.
Mr Comey was the bureau’s chief since the early 1990s and the first in history to be dismissed by Mr Trump.
His dismissal comes as the FBI investigates the possible involvement of Mr Manafort in the election interference.
The move by Mr Comey has triggered a backlash from Mr Trump and a raft of Republican lawmakers.
He is expected to face calls to resign from his colleagues.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the President’s decision.
“The American people expect the President to do the right thing, and they expect that the President will follow the law and uphold the Constitution,” Mr Trump told supporters in New Hampshire on Monday night.
Mr Manafort is the subject of an FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
He was one of several Trump associates who attended the gala on Monday evening.
A statement from the WhiteHouse on Tuesday said the decision to remove Mr Comey did not come until after the FBI was finished investigating the Russian investigation.
It said the President believed Mr Manafort was “unable to do his job and therefore the FBI should have a new director immediately.”
The WhiteHouse said the Whitehouse had not been made aware of any criminal charges against Mr Manafort and was unaware of any allegations against Mr Trump or his campaign.
The Trump White House has repeatedly accused Mr Manafort of involvement in Russian interference in the US presidential election, and has accused him of being an accessory to obstruction of justice by refusing to turn over documents and other documents he claims he is entitled to under the law.
Mr Mueller is investigating whether Mr Manafort laundered $18m (£12m) in undisclosed cash from a bank account in Cyprus into the accounts of a Ukrainian oligarch and other politicians.
Mr Rosenstein appointed Mr Rosenstein to the post on January 6 after the Senate confirmed him to the job in February.
He has been tasked with overseeing the FBI investigation of Russia’s election meddling, as well as any investigation into alleged collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian authorities.
In his written confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr Rosenstein said Mr Manafort had provided “substantial” information to the FBI on the investigation into Russian interference and had cooperated with the investigation.
“There is no question in my mind that Mr Manafort did cooperate with the FBI,” Mr Rosenstein wrote.
“He provided substantial information to them and he cooperated fully.”
The President and his aides have accused Mr Mueller of pursuing a political vendetta against Mr Mueller.
“Mr Rosenstein’s nomination is an insult to American law enforcement and to the American people,” Mr Schiff said in a statement.
Mr Schiff called on Mr Rosenstein not to recuse himself from the probe, saying he has “a duty to the people of the United States to conduct the investigation fairly and impartially.”