Trump Contradicts Himself by Claiming He Didn’t Fire Comey Over Russia

That’s the exact opposite of what he said on camera one year ago.

Ting Shen/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet Thursday morning that he did not fire former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation, despite having told NBC’s Lester Holt one year ago that the abrupt dismissal stemmed from exactly that. 

“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. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won,'” Trump told Holt in May 2017, just two days after Comey’s firing.

In the same television interview, Trump also undermined the White House’s initial claim that the decision to sack Comey came from a recommendation from the Justice Department.

This isn’t the first time Trump has contradicted the explanation he offered to Holt. But Thursday’s tweet appears to respond to new reports that former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe wrote a secret memo detailing the events, including conversations he had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, that led to Comey’s firing. That memo is reportedly now in the hands of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump’s apparent attempt to squash the Russia investigation only backfired, as the explosive firing has since become a central focus for Mueller amid questions over whether the president attempted to obstruct justice.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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