In a surreal moment during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, President Trump ditched his administration’s official narrative on why he fired FBI Director James Comey, and for the most part admitted that it was the FBI’s Russia probe that prompted the firing.
“Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey,” Trump said. “Knowing, there was no good time to do it.”
“And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,’” he added.
“It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. This was an excuse for having lost the election.”
Trump’s comments reveal a different narrative than the one pushed by the White House. Up until Thursday’s interview, the Trump administration has insisted that the recommendation to fire Comey came solely from newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This Tuesday, Sean Spicer said, “It was all [Rosenstein] … No one from the White House” suggested Comey be fired. This Wednesday morning, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump “took strong and decisive leadership here to put the safety and security of the American people first by accepting the recommendation of the deputy attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI. … [The American people] expect the president to act on the recommendations of those within the administration who are charged with oversight.” During a press conference on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if Rod Rosenstein “decided on his own” to review Comey’s performance. She replied, “Absolutely.”
But during Thursday’s interview, Trump threw them all under the bus. Watch an excerpt in the video below, via NBC News:
[H/T Slate] Featured image via screen grab