Trump Contradicts White House, Says He Was Going to Fire Comey “Regardless of Recommendation”

He also admitted to asking the former FBI director if he was under investigation.

President Donald Trump disputed the White House’s initial account of the events leading up to FBI Director James Comey’s abrupt firing Tuesday, telling NBC’s Lester Holt he sought to get rid of Comey “regardless of recommendation” from the Justice Department.

“I was going to fire Comey, my decision,” Trump said in an interview airing Thursday evening. “I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way.” He described Comey as a “showboat” and “grandstander.”

When pressed about the administration’s previous narrative that Trump was operating under the recommendation of the Justice Department, Trump reiterated that the decision came from him.

“I was going to fire him regardless of recommendation,” he said. “He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”

Trump’s statements directly contradict the account provided by White House officials just hours before, in which they claimed Comey’s removal was the result of a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

In a separate clip from the wide-ranging interview, Trump also revealed that he specifically asked Comey whether he was under federal investigation for possible ties to Russia. The admission will likely fuel concerns that Trump has interfered with the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which could include contacts between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

“I said, if it’s possible, would you let me know, am I under investigation?” Trump told Holt. “He said: You are not under investigation.”


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.