Firing 'nutjob' Comey relieved investigation pressure, Trump told Russians

Trump with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak on May 10 (Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)

RELATED AUDIO: Special prosecutor for Russia inquiry & questions about impeachment on Trump’s Beltway with Nathan Smith (May 19)

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As he departs for his first international trip as president, Donald Trump faces yet another damaging White House leak.

Mr Trump told  Russian officials during a May 10 meeting that firing the FBI director James Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarising the meeting that a US official read to the New York Times.

“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off," the document quotes the president as saying.

The White House has not disputed the language but says the comments were taken out of context.

The May 10 meeting, between Mr Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak, has already caused controversy. The president shared code-word intelligence supplied by an ally (reportedly Israel) at the meeting. Mr Trump said the information was shared in the pursuit of the US and Russia's common goal of defeating ISIS. However, the incident reportedly raised concerns in Israel, which had apparently not given permission for the intel to be shared, let alone with Russia – allied to its arch-foe Iran.

The meeting was closed to US media, with only Russian state-owned news agency TASS allowed into the Oval Office.

Democrats accused Mr Trump of being immature and showing off. The intelligence sharing also drew criticism from some Republicans in Congress, including who issued a statement calling it "disturbing," adding: "Regrettably, the time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia’s aggressive behavior, including its interference in American and European elections, its illegal invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, its other destabilising activities across Europe, and the slaughter of innocent civilians and targeting of hospitals in Syria."

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US President Donald Trump, and the Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak (from left) talking during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on May 10 (Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images).

The nutjob document caps a week that has seen daily controversy for the Trump White House.

The president already stands accused of obstruction of justice via demands to Mr Comey to drop an investigation into links between his campaign and Russia and to back off an investigation into fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Mr Trump denies making such requests to Mr Comey and says he is the victim of a "witch-hunt."

Witch hunt or not, the president faces lengthy distractions.

Former FBI director, Robert Mueller, who the Justice Department appointed mid-week as special counsel to investigate allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has 60 days to assemble a team and budget. That is, his investigation proper won't even begin for two months.

In the shorter term, House and Senate committees are both seeking testimony from Mr Comey on a memo he wrote after a meeting with Mr Trump. He could appear as soon as next week; this morning NZ time came the news that Mr Comey has agreed to testify in an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee before Memorial Day (May 29).

The probes come at a time when only one major piece of legislation has been passed in the Trump era — a spending bill notable for cold-shouldering the president's request for initial funding of a wall along the border with Mexico.

A healthcare reform bill that eventually passed the House is now stalled in the Senate where several members of the Republican majority want a substantial rewrite.

And the president's tax reform plan remains a set of talking points on a piece of paper. There is no indication at this point when a bill will arrive, or how Mr Trump and Republicans in Congress will resolve differences over issues such as a possible deficit blowout and a proposed 20% border tax. 

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said mid-week that he’s prepared to block Mr Trump on many of his proposed budget cuts and won’t support major tax cuts that add to the deficit. Nor would he commit to building Trump’s border wall.

The Kentucky Republican also told Bloomberg he wanted "less drama" from the Trump White House.

He may not get his wish.


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16 Comments & Questions

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Well done and good on you Donny.

Totaly agree this is as is most media reporting on what Donny did next is a witch hunt.

Why do media main stream and gutter only report on news often glossed over or inaccurate or at the best incorrectly embelished trying to distabliah the American administration?

He was voted in has created jobs and seen an up turn in the US economy.

Get used to it and don't be so petty

Also in the long run what Donny does will have not a huge influence on us or our economy so why does TV1 run the third and fourth story more frequently or not about Donny, pathetic.

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US gross domestic product grew at a 0.7% annual rate in January through March, the slowest pace of expansion in three years.

It's hard to ascribe changes in the economy (good or bad) to the Trump administration given that it has yet to pass any major legislation. It doesn't really matter what the liberal media or Democrats say, given that Republicans hold a majority in both houses of Congress. The Trump administration's inability to get reform through is a function of the president's failure to reach a consensus with Republicans in the House and Senate.

Business did take hard from Trump's desire to lower taxes and eliminate many regulations, but there was a stock market correction this week -- perhaps reflecting a lower degree of confidence that the president can get his agenda through.

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500000 jobs

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For better or worse, most economic developments in the first quarter will be down to his predecessor's policies.

Once Trump gets his first budget through, and his first legislation through Congress, he'll have a chance to make a real impact.

As noted his election and the promise of tax etc did definitely help business sentiment, as reflected on Wall Street -- although that's flagged a bit this week as the various organisational and legal distractions have created the impression it will be perhaps more difficult for Trump to get Republicans in Congress onside with his agenda. 

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Everyone is sick of the media compulsive disorder with Trump, which seem to exclusively come from politicians and self interest media business.

Lets hope their rating plummet, along with their advertising revenue, so that we can have more objective reporting from other businesses who dont have a hidden agenda.

Democracy died along time ago, with main stream media now exposed for who they are (not)!

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Fox, CNN, the New York Times and others do wall-to-wall Trump stories because that's what the public wants -- understandably given his huge influence on the US and the world, and his constant surprises. 

They're all doing very well out of it in terms of ratings and (n the NYT's case) online paying subscribers.

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I'm not sure that's true, CNN, BBC and NYT are the ultimate establishment left, Fox somewhat more independent. But actually I agree with Trump on Coney, and with his view that the intention is to give him no chance. The mainstream Republican right the Ryan, Bush, Romney, Cruz faction are somewhat discredited and unelectable at Presidential level in that low wages, higher fees and limited or no health coverage are no longer attractive to those attracted by the pretense of Reagan inclusiveness and Le Altwater patriotism. On the main issue the restored mainstram military McMaster etc are not on the patch on the great US Geenrals of the past Le May, McArthur., Paton, Eishenshower. The current generals are 125 IQ mediocrities convinced of their technological and moral superiority as hard lefties and hypocrites like the Clintons and Clarks of the world. The realpolitic of he original Trump- Bannon position was the only realistic position a truce and degree of cooperation with Russia for the moment as a residual superpower who in military desgin class and leadership remains more equivalent and superior to the US in some critical areas than imagined. The need is to concentrate on reducing Chinese influence and ending that of Iran and the Palestine supporting forces. The Chinese claims to soverighnty and control over the South Chian sea is a ludicrous assertion than needs to be challenged with more than words. Iran is the only power in the Middle East with real military industial independent capability and needs to have its militiary potential eliminated . Russian and Chian are too strong to challenge together and the reduction of Chinese pretension required first and that will be enough for now.

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Again, it doesn't matter if the NYT, CNN etc are centrist or establishment left or hard left, or what Democrats think.

Republicans have a majority in Congress, so all Trump needs to do is persuade members of his own party to get behind his agenda. So far, he's largely failed.

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Concise and accurate A+

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Fox News you need to get out more.

Still one eyed journalism

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Well said could not put it better.

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Agree, the media needs to stop reporting embarrassing facts and coverage and stick only to approved alternative facts. All this coverage of missteps, possible collusion, and faux pas is highly irritating and does not reflect the true glory of The Don.

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To the posters who do not like the media coverage of Trump, don't worry. He'll soon be gone.

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$20 says he won't

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'“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off," the document quotes the president as saying. The White House has not disputed the language but says the comments were taken out of context.'

Anyone else unsure of how else to interpret this one? I mean, "nut job" means nut job in any language!

Seems like the Capitol Hill circus is running out of excuses and just immediately runs to, "it was taken out of context" excuse 24/7 now. How else can they keep up with the Drumpf's faux pas'?

Hilarious, keep it coming Capitol Hill Clown Show!

Never thought I'd say this, but can't wait for Mike Pence - 2018!

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The combination of Trump, Shouty Spice and Orwellianne Conway does make for remarkable viewing, that's for sure.

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