President Donald Trump has often said over the past year that he fired former FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation, but in a tweet today he now claims that is not true.
Seemingly out of the blue Trump tweeted:
“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”
Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
One interesting thing about Trump’s post this morning is that he blames “the Corrupt Mainstream Media” for “pushing that narrative” of Comey being fired because he wouldn’t do Trump’s bidding and interfere with special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
He also says that the media “know it is not true” even though it was Trump’s own words in a TV interview on NBC that led people to believe it was true, and that is the reason that Comey was fired.
It’s also puzzling that Trump says in his tweet that it doesn’t matter, but if the reason for the firing doesn’t matter, why is Trump tweeting about it?
Of course we do know that it DOES matter very much, because the reason for Comey’s firing is one of the central issues in Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice.
Trump’s tweet seems to be in response to a New York Times story reporting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had said the president initially asked him to refer to Russia as the reason for Comey’s firing, in a formal report that had been prepared for the Justice Department. And of course, Trump telling Rosenstein what to write in a DOJ report was in itself evidence of his intent to obstruct justice.
“Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe wrote a confidential memo last spring recounting a conversation that provided “significant behind-the-scenes” details on the firing of former FBI director James Comey, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.”
“The Times reported that McCabe had turned in his memo to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Moscow colluded with President Donald Trump’s campaign to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election. Comey’s firing is one part of Mueller’s inquiries into whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.”
“The Times reported, citing several people familiar with the discussion, that in the document McCabe described a conversation at the Justice Department with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein after Comey was abruptly fired. Rosenstein had played a main role in Comey’s May 2017 dismissal, writing a memo in which he rebuked Comey over his handling of an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the election campaign.”
“But in the meeting at the Justice Department Rosenstein added a new detail: that Trump had originally asked him to reference Russia in his memo, The Times reported, citing the sources familiar. Rosenstein did not elaborate on what Trump had wanted him to say, according to the newspaper.”
What this all means is that Trump is once again trying to influence Mueller’s investigation as well as the public’s perception of that investigation. He says the reason for Comey’s firing doesn’t matter, but it does matter, and everybody knows it.
Trump’s comments today also show that the New York Times story yesterday was extremely important. No matter what Trump tweets, there is evidence that he both obstructed justice in fact, and also had the clear intent to do so. This is just one more nail in the coffin that will be used to bury the Trump presidency.