In an Oval Office meeting earlier this month, President Donald Trump told visiting Russian officials that his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump called a “nut job,” relieved the president of "great pressure because of Russia,” according to a New York Times report published Friday.
Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey I. Kislyak a day after Comey’s abrupt firing. In Friday’s report, the Times cited a document summarizing the meeting, during which Trump also said that he was not under investigation for possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. The document detailing Trump’s comments “was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting,” according to the Times.
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In that same May 10 meeting, Trump also reportedly shared with the Russian officials highly classified intelligence from Israel.
The White House and Trump have previously offered contradictory reasons for Comey’s dismissal. In an interview earlier this month with NBC News, Trump said that he considered “this Russia thing” in his decision to fire Comey. The White House had initially offered the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as the reason for termination.
On Friday, the Washington Post also reported that a senior White House official is a person of interest in the investigation into ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign.
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