- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2018

President Trump said Thursday he did not fire former FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation.

“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!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The president also chastised the “mainstream media” for not covering allegations of “spies” or “informants” on his campaign.

“The corrupt Mainstream Media is working overtime not to mention the infiltration of people, Spies (Informants), into my campaign! Surveillance much?” he added.

Last year during a meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump called Mr. Comey a “nut job” and boasted that firing him took off “great pressure.”

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump reportedly said in the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

The conversation between Mr. Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov the day after the abrupt firing of Mr. Comey was in a document summarizing the meeting. The document was read to the New York Times.

And in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt in May 2017, Mr. Trump said the Russia investigation was on his mind when he fired Mr. Comey.

“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,” Mr. Trump said at the time. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

The president said he believed the investigation was proof that Mr. Comey wasn’t competent, and the firing was not an attempt to stop the investigation.

“I said to myself I might even lengthen out the investigation [by firing Mr. Comey],” Mr. Trump said. “But I have to do the right thing for the American people. He’s the wrong man for that position.”

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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