President Donald Trump on Thursday described former FBI Director James Comey as a "showboat" and said he intended to fire him "regardless" of what Justice Department officials suggested.
"He’s a showboat, he’s a grand-stander, the FBI has been in turmoil," Trump told NBC News’ Lester Holt in an interview scheduled to air later on Thursday. "You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil. Less than a year ago, it hasn’t recovered from that."
The White House had previously claimed that Trump fired Comey at the recommendation of the Justice Department, which sent the president a memo criticizing the FBI director’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Trump also reiterated his claim that Comey personally told him that he was not under investigation by the FBI for possible connections to Russia. News reports in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have cited anonymous sources describing that assertion as inaccurate.
"I said, ‘If it’s possible, would you let me know am I under investigation?’ He said, ‘You are not under investigation,’" Trump told Holt.