Donald Trump, who has said in the past that he fired FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation, says he did not fire FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation

While, thanks to Roseanne Barr, the whole world was busy debating the extent to which Ambien causes racism, Donald Trump took the opportunity to rewrite a little bit more of American history today. [He also sent a signal to his numerous co-conspirators by announcing his intention to pardon the racist far-right “intellectual” Dinesh D’Souza, but we’ll have to save that for another time.]

In spite of having stated on multiple occasions that he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to stop the Russia investigation, our president took to Twitter this morning – the day after lashing out at his Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation rather than stopping it – and said definitively that he “never fired James Comey because of Russia!” This, as we know, is a lie, and one that’s very easy to fact check.

There may be more, but I can recall at least two instances, one of which was broadcast over network television, in which Donald Trump has said before witnesses that it was his decision to fire James Comey not because of how the former FBI director had handled the Clinton email investigation, which, as we now know, was never anything more than a politically motivated farce, but because of… to use his own words… “the Russia thing.” Here he is using that exact phrase with NBC’s Lester Holt on May 11 of last year, two days after the FBI Director had been fired, and hours after the White House put out a statement saying that the firing had not been Trump’s decision, but that Comey had been fired based on the advice of the Department of Justice’s Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions, both of whom, by the way, the President has since turned on.

“(It was) my decision,” the President told a caught-off-guard Lester Holt, who had clearly not been expecting Trump to admit that he’d given the word to fire the man charged with investigating him. The President then when on to say that he was thinking about “this Russia thing” when he decided to terminate the FBI director. Here, if you’d like to the refresh your memory, is video of the exchange, which I’m certain will one day be played in court. [Word is that the special investigator already has enough to charge Donald Trump with obstruction of justice, but he’s still shoring up the rest of case, which centers on corruption, money laundering and conspiring with foreign powers against the interests of the American people.]

“[Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein] made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” – Donald Trump

This isn’t like “laurel” and “yanni”. There’s no debating what it is that Trump said, or what he meant. It’s clear. He told Lester Holt that he’d decided to fire Comey himself, and that had to do with “the Russia thing.”

And, before we move on, it’s worth noting that this video, as we now know, was followed shortly afterward by the release of a memo authored by James Comey just after the President called him to the Oval Office, where, according to the former FBI Director, he was both asked for his “loyalty” and told to stop looking into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s interactions with the Russians prior to the election. [Flynn, it’s worth noting, ultimately plead guilty to charges of lying to the FBI, when evidence surfaced that he’d lied to federal investigators about his contacts with Russians who had been engaged in election interference on Trump’s behalf.]

But Trump didn’t only tell the NBC audience that he fired Comey for refusing to put “the Russia thing” to bed. He also told a delegation of Russians, who he’d brought to the White House without the public’s knowledge on the very day he fired Comey. The visit hadn’t been on the public calendar, and the only reason we ever found out about it is because the Russians in attendance reported on it… Here’s something that I wrote about the meeting at the time.

Trump must be trolling us, right? I mean who in their right fucking mind, on the day immediately after he fires the man heading the investigation into whether or not his campaign team colluded with the Russians to steal an election, not only invites into the White House the very Russian Ambassador who’s widely thought to have helped orchestrate the whole thing, but bans the American press, allowing in only Russian news agencies? I mean, this is the very same guy, Sergey Kislyak, that Michael Flynn was fired for having lied about having talked with during the campaign. This is the guy who many think coordinated the whole “we’ll hack the election if you lift the sanctions” deal at the heart of this whole fucking thing. And Trump invites him into the White House on the day after he fires FBI Director Comey in hopes of killing the investigation. It’s absolutely insane. This would be like if Obama, at the height of the Tea Party madness, joined the Black Panther Party, donned a dashiki, released his Kenyan birth certificate, and started to speak exclusively in Bantu…

And it wasn’t just that Trump invited Kislyak into the Oval Office the day he fired Comey. He also laughed about it in front of them, calling the former FBI director a “nut job,” and noting how, now that he’d been removed from office, there would be less significantly less “pressure” on him. Here’s a clip from a New York Times article written at the time.

…“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that the president dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

The comments represented an extraordinary moment in the investigation, which centers in part on the administration’s contacts with Russian officials: A day after firing the man leading that inquiry, Mr. Trump disparaged him — to Russian officials.

The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account…

At first, the White House said Mr. Trump had fired Mr. Comey based on the recommendation of the Justice Department, and because of Mr. Comey’s handling of the F.B.I. investigation into Hillary Clinton last year. Officials said the move had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.

But the president undercut that argument a day later, telling NBC News, “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”…

So, today, when you hear Donald Trump say, “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!,” just keep in mind that he’s lying. It’s absolutely true that he fired Comey in hopes of ending the investigation, and he’s only saying this now because he’s scared, and knows for a certainty that his only chance of avoiding prosecution is to convince Republican voters that he never said what he said, and that all of this is nothing more than the ‘lying press’ trying to keep him from saving America and getting the credit which is so rightfully his. We can’t let him get away with it.

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25 Comments

  1. @AdamSchiffCA
    Posted May 31, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I have some bad news, Mr. President. That time you told Lester Holt that you were thinking about the Russia investigation when you fired Comey? That was on prime time television and the ratings were excellent.

  2. wobblie
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    In case folks missed it,
    https://www.juancole.com/2018/05/roseanne-really-important.html

  3. Jcp2
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    My fault. Took my Ambien too soon.

  4. stupid hick
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Given what JC wrote the day before about the original Rosanne show, its social commentary on labor, and Rosanne Barr’s later radical transformation, I would have figured wobblie would have been more likely to promote that post instead:

    https://www.juancole.com/2018/05/roseanne-america-become.html

    FWIW, JC writes about Rosanne again today. Always insightful.

  5. Chris Buhalis
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Finally!! Someone caught him in an obvious lie. This should change everything.

  6. Meta
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Here are two more data points from today’s Washington Post.

    Headline: “All the reasons it’s fair to assume Trump fired Comey because of the Russia investigation”

    There’s evidence that Trump wanted to make Russia a more explicit part of the firing. The weekend before Trump fired Comey, he was at his private club in Bedminster, N.J. While there, he reportedly asked his adviser Stephen Miller to draft a letter that he would use to fire Comey. That draft letter, which The Post reported is now in Mueller’s possession, apparently included language chastising Comey for not publicly exonerating the president.

    (Two months before he was fired, Comey publicly acknowledged the existence of the investigation in testimony before Congress. In that testimony, he noted that the investigation, then about seven months old, was still in its early stages, particularly for a counterintelligence investigation. This may have contributed to his unwillingness to exonerate Trump at that point.)

    The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Andrew McCabe, then FBI acting director, had raised concerns about the process by which Rosenstein’s letter about Comey was drafted. Rosenstein told Justice Department officials, McCabe claimed, that “the president had originally asked him [Rosenstein] to reference Russia in his memo” presenting a case for Comey to be fired.

    McCabe’s memo is now in Mueller’s hands.

    Trump put pressure on other officials to try to get Comey to back off. It got buried a bit in the blizzard of news over the past 16 months, but The Post reported last June that Comey was not the only official who had faced pressure on the Russia investigation. In late March 2017, Trump reportedly asked his new director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to try to pressure Comey to drop his focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Another of Comey’s memos indicates that Trump made a similar request to Comey directly.)

    Trump later called Coats and Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, asking them to release public statements of exoneration, which they declined to do.

    Read more:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/05/31/all-the-reasons-its-fair-to-assume-trump-fired-comey-because-of-the-russia-investigation/

  7. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    What is wrong with firing an FBI head who is now under investigation for things he did before getting fired? Trump kicking major ass on the world stage now. Can’t wait for week after next – OIG report on Monday and Lil Kim on Tuesday. Doesn’t seem to be going your way does it? It’s sooo GOOD!!!

  8. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    This Russia shit hasn’t gone anywhere. It seems to be going in reverse. It’s not going to be shit in the end. Now you are looking down the barrel of the OIG report. I told you exactly how it is going to go. It’s taking foreeever but it is happening.

  9. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    lol

  10. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I faintly hear the sound of the reclusive bleating swampsucker. It’s like whihaaoo whihaaoo…whihaaoo whiHWAh!!!

  11. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Comey is getting busted. They are all getting busted all the way up to Obama for illegal spying and that is only the start. There is only so long you can keep pretending to laugh. In reality you don’t even know how to laugh anymore, do you?

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted June 2, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    HW returns and once again demonstrates that he can not see past his own worldview to even imagine how others might react.

    The months delayed OIG thing feels in So many ways like the FISA memo.

    Maybe we should be fearful HW about the purge to come, but none of us are.

    Personally, I’m joyful imagining you eating your words.

  13. Sad
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Oh gawd! Are we back to the eating thing again?

    Words, McDonalds, who cares?

  14. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    This place has the stupidest comments. It’s nice to not deal with it. I will be back to rub your faces in everything you have said though.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I hope you will also come back to concede that you were wrong. But somehow I doubt it.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Sad– What is it that you care about? You only seem to care about ridiculing others here. You make a lot of points in contradiction to one another and stir the pot. But none of us here know anything about what you think. And you don’t seem to be here to learn. Why are you here?

    What do you care about?
    Why are you here?

  17. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Some things I said have come true and proven you wrong. McCabe getting fired for example. You and wobblie were wrong as shit. Many more of my predictions are now in the process of becoming public knowledge. You are the liar.

    “HW’s authority on the McCabe terminal leave rests on the tweets of the most habitual liar in American politics. It’s impossible to fire a civil servant without cause. In fact, it appears McCabe had enough leave accrued to leave hist post early with full benefits. Of course the White House, desperate to make the FISA memo seem like more than the cherry picked BS it is, spun the situation to their advantage.
    Safe bet.
    Not interested in playing with HW on his terms though. No one gives a shit what his name is. It would be funny to rename him ‘I <3 Hillary' though."

  18. EOS
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Jean,

    You weren’t missed. Go back to your promised hiatus.

  19. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    EOS claims to be a “Christian.”

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    EOS. Why use the passive tense. Did God Not miss me. No. Just not you. The correct phrasing would be “I didn’t miss you, Jean. Go back….” Unfortunately my son has failed to pitch in on a necessary household task, which gets me a free pass to reply to HW.

    I guess, EOS, that you could pray to your God that he helps me more. I can’t imagine God wants much to do with you though. With nothing to fear, I don’t mind being an asshole on the internet, but you. my friend, are racking up those purgatory points here on MM.

  21. Taco Farts
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    There is currently no evidence that Melania Trump is alive.

  22. Taco Farts
    Posted June 3, 2018 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    ps Mark, your refusal to wield a banhammer means you’re now hosting/amplifying useful idiots who are (perhaps unwittingly) spreading propaganda. Please take a few moments to consider whether that’s what you and your site are about. I know this has been a thing for me previously, but the consequences are different now.

  23. iRobert
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    If you people actually cared in the least bit about Mark Maynard’s wellbeing, wouldn’t you be trying to help him kick this blogging addiction? It’s clearly destroying him, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

    I know it seems from my comments that I hate Mark, and yes I admit, it’s true, I do. But still, I realize he’s some sort of human being and can’t help but feel a little bit of compassion for the guy.

  24. Your President
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Trump is now saying that Lester Holt “fudged” the tape where he says he fired Comey because of the “Russia thing.”

    Donald Trump on Twitter: “What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!”

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1035120511259500544

  25. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    He said right in the interview he wanted someone competent. That’s funny you think you can put Russia thing in quotes and somehow it sounds incriminating. The Russian collusion hoax is what that refers to and you know it. You are so desperate you are deliberately misrepresenting DJT. We know for a fact the IG found Comey to have not met FBI standards in his official duties. At worst he committed treason in conspiring to frame the President for a crime that was never committed. It’s you who should be worried but you are oblivious even now.

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