President Donald Trump on Thursday claimed he did not fire James Comey as director of the FBI because of the agency’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, contradicting prior statements the president has made about the termination.
“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!” he added.
Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
But that’s not what Trump told NBC News’ Lester Holt in May 2017. In a televised interview, the president directly admitted he’d been planning to fire Comey — even before he received Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation to do so — because “of this Russia thing with Trump.”
“I was going to fire Comey knowing, there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,” Trump told Holt.
When Holt asked Trump whether he was “angry” with Comey “because of his Russia investigation,” the president replied, “I just want somebody that’s competent. I am a big fan of the FBI, I love the FBI.”