Advertisement

Trump says Comey not fired over Russia investigation — after saying that’s what happened

Former FBI director James Comey to release book about Donald Trump
WATCH: Former FBI director James Comey to release book about Donald Trump

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is attempting to rewrite history on his rationale for firing James Comey as FBI director last year.

READ MORE: Former FBI boss James Comey to speak in Ottawa ahead of G7 summit

In a Wednesday morning tweet sent as Comey promotes his criticism-filled new book, Trump says he “was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation.” But in an interview days after the sudden firing, Trump revealed that the probe into potential collusion during the 2016 campaign was on his mind at the time he made the decision.

The White House’s initial explanation for Trump’s decision was Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, and it released a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein justifying the decision. But two days after firing Comey, Trump undercut that rationale.

Story continues below advertisement

In the interview with NBC on May 11, 2017, Trump said, “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.’”

WATCH: James Comey outlines Russia’s intentions in interfering in 2016 election

James Comey outlines Russia’s intentions in interfering in 2016 election
James Comey outlines Russia’s intentions in interfering in 2016 election

Trump decided to fire Comey over the objections of his top advisers at the time, including chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Comey’s firing, and Trump’s subsequent suggestion that the Russia investigation was a factor in the decision, led Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation. Mueller is now investigating the Comey firing as part of an investigation of potential obstruction by the president.

WATCH: Former FBI director James Comey says Trump is “morally unfit” to be president

Former FBI director James Comey says Trump is “morally unfit” to be president
Former FBI director James Comey says Trump is “morally unfit” to be president

In an interview with ABC that aired Sunday, Comey said there is “certainly some evidence” that Trump had obstructed justice when Comey said the president pushed him to take a lenient stance toward former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Story continues below advertisement