Trump thought about ‘this Russia thing’ when deciding to fire ‘showboat’ Comey
The main reason for firing James Comey was the FBI being “in turmoil,” Trump told NBC News in an exclusive interview, while branding the former intelligence chief a “showboat.”
“He's a showboat, he's grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” Trump said. “You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn't recovered from that.”
Despite the previous claims by the White House, that Trump “acted based on the clear recommendations” of the Department of Justice, he actually made the decision ahead of receiving them from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“Regardless of [the] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey,” Trump stated.
When asked if he was “angry” with the former FBI chief because of the ongoing investigation of his team members over alleged links with Russia, Trump said that he just wanted “somebody that's competent.”
“I am a big fan of the FBI, I love the FBI,” Trump told interviewer Lester Holt.
The president, however, actually kept “this Russia thing” in mind when he made the decision to dismiss Comey.
“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’ve won,’” Trump said.
Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Trump revealed that he had actually asked Comey at least three times whether he was under investigation, once over dinner and twice by phone.
“I said, ‘If it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation?’” said Trump. “You are not under investigation,” was the reply, he added.
The investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election should go on, the president said.
“If Russia did anything, I want to know that,” he said, insisting that there was no “collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians.”
“As far as I'm concerned, I want that thing [investigation] to be absolutely done properly,” Trump said. “Maybe I'll expand that, you know, lengthen the time [of the Russia probe] because it should be over with, in my opinion, should have been over with a long time ago. Because all it is, is an excuse, but I said to myself, ‘I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people.’”