President Donald Trump told Russian officials during their White House meeting earlier this month that the firing of FBI Director Comey relieved “great pressure” because Comey led the Russia investigation.
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said during the meeting, according to the New York Times. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not dispute the reported quotes.
“By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia,” Spicer said. “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it.”
Meanwhile, the investigation into possible contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign has reached a current White House official who is said to be a “significant person of interest,” according to the Washington Post. The official’s identity has not been revealed but he or she is said to be someone close to the president.
Also on Friday, Comey agreed to testify in a public session before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the circumstances of his dismissal and contacts he had with the president. The hearing will take place after May 29, but an exact date has not yet been set.
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