19, April 2018
US President Donald Trump has denied firing FBI director James Comey last year over the agency’s investigation of Russia’s alleged collusion with Trump’s election campaign before the 2016 US presidential election, contradicting the explanation he offered in the days after Comey’s firing was first announced.
“Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!” Trump said via Twitter early Wednesday.
Trump’s comments follow a new book by Comey which intensifies the allegations that Trump may have engaged in criminal obstruction of justice when Comey was fired in May 2017.
In an interview with NBC News two days after the firing, Trump suggested that the Russia probe was behind the firing.
“Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey,” he said then.
“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, you know, this thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.”
In his interview with ABC News that aired Sunday night, Comey suggested Russians have information they could use to blackmail Trump and said there is evidence the president obstructed justice in the ongoing Russia investigation.
Comey’s memoir released on Tuesday, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” includes conversations he had with Trump before he was fired in which he implies the president pressured him over the Russia investigation.
When Comey was fired last year, the former FBI chief quickly became the chief prosecution witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigating the Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
In an interview with National Public Radio on Tuesday, Comey said that he did not have the full picture of Mueller’s probe to be able to make that judgement.
Comey’s written records of several troubling encounters with the president are at the heart of Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice in his attempts to shut down the inquiry.