Donald Trump told Russians firing 'nut job' James Comey eased pressure from investigation

Washington: President Donald Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the FBI director, James Comey, had relieved "great pressure" on him, according to a document summarising the meeting.

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by a US official. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."

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Trump tells Russians that firing Comey eased pressure

Trump tells Russian officials that firing 'nut job' FBI director, James Comey has taken the pressure off.

Trump added, "I'm not under investigation".

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting, the day after he fired Comey - reinforces the notion that Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau's investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

The White House document that contained Trump's comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, did not dispute the account.


In a statement, he said that Comey had put unnecessary pressure on the president's ability to conduct diplomacy with Russia on matters such as Syria, Ukraine and the Islamic State group.

"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia," Spicer said. "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations."

A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Lavrov about the "pressure" he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Lavrov, on Syria, Ukraine and other issues, by saying that Russian meddling in last year's election had created enormous political problems for Trump.

New York Times