Another day, another White House scandal… Or two.
During his closed-door meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office this month, President Trump said that firing F.B.I. Director James Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him, the New York Times reports.
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump told Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to a document which was read to the Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Trump then reportedly insisted, “I’m not under investigation.”
The document, based on notes taken from the Oval Office, has been circulating as the official account of the meeting, according to the Times. Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the account.
The report reinforces the notion that Trump fired Comey specifically because of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, something Trump admitted to during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.
Not to be outdone, the Washington Post reports Friday that the Russian probe “has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest,” suggesting the investigation is reaching the highest levels of government.
The identity of the senior White House adviser is not known, but the Post reports it is someone “close to the president.”
The probe seems to be entering a more “active phase,” as investigators conduct interviews and issue subpoenas.
A source tells the Post investigators remain “keenly interested” in people like former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.