May 19, 2017 03:45 PM
President Donald Trump told Russian officials the firing of former FBI Director James Comey removed a "great pressure," according to a New York Times report.
The New York Times, sourcing documents leaked to them by an U.S. official, reports the president told the Russian officials: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
The documents, the Times reports, are White House notes taken during the meeting last week.
According to the report, the president went on to tell Russian officials, "I’m not under investigation."
In a statement to the New York Times and NBC News, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the report. Instead, Spicer justified the firing of Comey: "The President has always emphasized the importance of making deals with Russia as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people," Spicer told NBC News. "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russian's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia."
Spicer added, "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations."
In a separate report, the Washington Post says that the investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign extends to the White House where a current White House official is reportedly a "significant person of interest."
The report goes onto say the official is high ranking and close to the president -- but doesn't name the official.
Friday, President Trump embarked on his first foreign trip, heading to Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to improve relations with the U.S. ally.
Updated: May 19, 2017 03:45 PM
Created: May 19, 2017 03:40 PM
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