Trump Contradicts White House Statements, Says He Planned to Fire Comey Anyway

Dismissal of FBI chief James Comey had nothing to do with recommendation from deputy attorney general, Trump tells NBC News

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) in the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., on February 28, 2017 and FBI Director James Comey in Washington U.S. on July 7, 2016.
GARY CAMERON/REUTERS

President Donald Trump said in an interview that he had planned to fire FBI Director James Comey regardless of the recommendation from his deputy attorney general, contrary to earlier statements from the White House.

Trump said in the NBC News interview he had made up his mind to dismiss Comey before he met Monday with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

White House officials had said earlier in the week that Trump asked Sessions and Rosenstein for their opinions about Comey, and then Trump acted on those recommendations.

Trump detailed his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, who he fired this week in the interview. The president said that Comey assured him that he was not under investigation for collusion with Russia.

Trump said that he spoke with Comey once during dinner and twice in phone calls, during which time he says Comey told him “you are not under investigation.”

He said he initiated one phone call, and Comey initiated the other.

In his termination letter to Comey, sent to reporters on Tuesday, Trump thanked him for informing him “three times” that he is not under investigation.

Trump said, “I know that I’m not under investigation. Me personally. I’m not talking about campaigns or anything else. I am not under investigation.”