Trump Opens His Bizarre Victory Speech by Admitting He Obstructed Justice

“Had I not fired James Comey, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now.”

Patrick Semansky/AP

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In a rambling, seething victory speech to mark his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial, President Donald Trump appeared to admit that he attempted to obstruct an FBI investigation into his campaign by firing the agency’s director.

Before railing against the “evil” process, the “dirty cops,” “failed presidential candidate” Mitt Romney, and “horrible person” Nancy Pelosi, Trump brought up one of the most incendiary moments of his presidency: the firing of FBI Director James Comey. 

“Had I not fired James Comey, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now,” the president said at the outset of his remarks. The stunning statement appeared to admit, once again, that he removed Comey in order to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A quick refresher: During a May 2017 interview on NBC, Trump contradicted the White House’s initial account into Comey’s firing by saying that the decision would have come “regardless” of a Justice Department recommendation. In the same interview, Trump revealed that he had asked Comey whether he was under investigation—an admission many interpreted as an attempt to obstruct justice. The president has since backpedaled on that admission a number of times.

On Thursday, that alternating narrative appeared to land once again on the apparent confession that he did indeed attempt to obstruct justice—and that he viewed Comey as a lethal threat to his presidency.

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