WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – In Lester Holt’s exclusive interview, President Trump explains why he fired FBI Director James Comey–contradicting White House staff, the new FBI director and other officials in the agency. The firing comes at the same time Comey was investigating possible Trump ties to Russia.
“Look, he’s a showboat,” Trump said. “He’s a grandstander.”
Aides said it was based on the justice department’s recommendation.
Trump said, “Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”
And the reactions from Capitol Hill began rolling in.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California said, “It is just appallingly unethical, if not more.”
The president then contradicted testimony from the new acting director of the FBI saying, “The FBI has been in turmoil.”
But Andrew McCabe, acting FBI Director, said “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.”
Trump tells NBC that Comey asked to dine with the president and then asked to keep his job.
Trump said, “A dinner was arranged. I think he asked for the dinner.”
But, this morning, current and former FBI officials tell us Comey never asked for that dinner, but the White House did.
The also president asked Comey if he was under investigation.
“He said you are not under investigation,” Trump said.
Senator Ron Wyden, a democrat from Oregon said, “By his own words it seems to me the President fired Mr. Comey to end the investigation.”
But Trump insists he wants a full review.
“I want that thing to be done properly,” Trump said. “If Russia did anything having to do with our election, I want to know about it.”
The White House also said the president was considering visiting the FBI soon, but now it’s unclear, after some agents objected.