Donald Trump was given the opportunity last night (Jan.12) to address the most important question posed by a New York Times report that the FBI had opened a probe into whether he was working on behalf of Russia after he fired FBI director James Comey.
“Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked Trump when he called into her Saturday night show.
Trump used 351 words to say everything but “no.”
I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it’s called “The failing New York Times” for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.
But you look at what’s going on, you know, I fired James Comey. I call him Lyin’ James Comey cause he was a terrible liar, and he did a terrible job as the FBI director. Look at what happened with the Hillary Clinton and the emails and the Hillary Clinton investigation, one of the biggest screwups that anybody’s ever seen as an investigation.
And what happened after I fired him? Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, his lover Lisa Page, they did it. And, you know, they’re all gone. Most of those people, many, many people from the top ranks of the FBI, they’ve all been fired or they had to leave are. And they’re all gone.
This is what they were talking about. And, obviously, nothing was found.
And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other—probably any other president period, but certainly the last three or four presidents, modern-day presidents. Nobody’s been as tough as I have from any standpoint, including the fact that we’ve done oil like we’ve never done it, we’re setting records in country with oil and exporting oil and many other things. So, which is, obviously, not great for them, because that’s what they—that’s where they get their money for the most part. But many other things.
So, I think it was a great insult. And the New York Times is a disaster as a paper. It’s a very horrible thing they said, and they’ve gone so far that people that weren’t necessarily believers are now big believers, because they said that was a step too far. They really are a disaster of a newspaper.
You can watch the full interview here:
The Times reported that one reason FBI investigators opened their inquiry was Trump’s interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, aired May 11, 2017, in which he indicated he had thought of the FBI’s probe of ties between his presidential campaign and Russia operatives when he fired Comey two days before.
“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,” he told Holt. “And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself—I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”
The White House has disputed the notion that Trump’s comments showed he fired Comey to block the Russia investigation, citing that he added, “I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people. He’s the wrong man for that position.”
Trump was more blunt about his reasoning in speaking with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, its ambassador to the US, during a May 10, 2017 Oval Office visit. “I just fired the head of the FBI,” Trump told them, according to a White House summary described in detail to the Times. “He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
The FBI probe into whether the US president was working on behalf of Russia had a criminal aspect—did Trump fire Comey over Russia?—as well as a counterintelligence aspect, regarding whether he put national security at risk. The Times reports that the investigation was soon taken over by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, as part of his wider probe of Russian meddling into the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump team members.