- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2018

President Trump on Thursday complained about a lack of appreciation for his firing former FBI Director James Comey, a move that has drawn attention from federal investigators.

“When will people start saying, ‘thank you, Mr. President, for firing James Comey?” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The president posed the question ahead of an upcoming Justice Department inspector general report that is expected to criticize the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.

Mr. Trump has offered varying reasons for firing Mr. Comey in May 2017. At first, he said the ex-FBI director was terminated on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The president then contradicted himself in an NBC News interview, saying that he was going to fire Mr. Comey “regardless of recommendation.”

The firing of Mr. Comey has become a contentious point in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Mueller is said to examining whether the axing of Mr. Comey was an effort to obstruct the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Last month, The New York Times reported that the president had asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to reference Russia in his memo justifying Mr. Comey’s firing.

Mr. Trump raised some eyebrows in the same NBC News interview when he implied the Russia probe was a factor in Mr. Comey’s firing.

“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,’” the president said.

But in May, Mr. Trump appeared to contradict himself when he claimed the Russia investigation is not why he fired Mr. Comey.

“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!” he tweeted.

Mr. Trump and ex-FBI director have engaged in a public war of words since the firing. The president has called Mr. Comey a “slimeball” and “leaker” and accused him of leaving the bureau’s reputation in tatters.” Mr. Comey has released a book blasting the president, calling him “morally unfit” for the office during a press tour.

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