During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week, President Trump told the men that fired FBI Director James Comey was a “nut job,” and that his removal would relieve pressure on his administration over its ties to Russia.
The New York Times reported the exchange on Friday, and the White House did not dispute it—an unusual move for a communications staff that has offered at least token pushback and often serious dispute even on stories that are unmistakably correct. During the same meeting, Trump revealed highly sensitive classified information, shared with the U.S. by an ally, about an ISIS plot.
In a statement, Press Secretary Sean Spicer acknowledged that Trump believed dismissing Comey would distract from the Russia probe.
“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. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the ongoing probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has “identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest.” The paper reported that its sources say the person is a current senior staffer, but would not further identify who it is. Trump has repeatedly denied that he had any ties to Russian interference in the campaign, and says he has no business ties to Russia, either.
By acknowledging the exchange with the Russians, the White House has effectively admitted it lied in explaining why Comey was fired. The “nut job” conversation is the latest confirmation that Trump’s motivation in firing Comey …read more
Via:: The Atlantic