President Trump called former FBI chief James Comey a nut job during an Oval Office meeting with two Russian officials, telling them his firing relieved a lot of pressure.
Trump told the that he fired just fired the head of the F.B.I. The FBI Chief James Comey was crazy, a real nut job. This was according to a report based on a summary of the meeting attained by the Times.
The White House did not deny the conversation took place but said Comey’s “grandstanding” during an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections, including possible ties to Trump’s campaign, had caused harm relations with Moscow.
Spicer also said the real story were the negative leaks.
“Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations,” he said.
The leak to the Times was particularly harmful since only a select group of people could have had access to the information about the May 10 Oval Office meeting with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The meeting took place the day after Trump’s surprise firing of Comey, which prompted bipartisan whining and ultimately led to the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel for the Russian probe.
The Times story came as the Washington Post separately reported that the investigation into Russia had led to a person of huge interest who operates in the White House right now.
Two unnamed White House officials have agreed to the validity the account to the Times, while a third government official said that the comments were a negotiating tactic used by the President.
The report is the latest in a steady stream of bad headlines for the White House related to the fallout of Comey’s firing.
They White House initially said Comey was only fired after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote recommendations.