Just as Air Force One took off from the runway from Joint Base Andrews for President's first foreign trip, the New York Times issued a report claiming that the 45th commander-in-chief told Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting that the firing of FBI director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, a document summarizing the meeting said.
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off."
"I'm not under investigation," he added.
The May 10 meeting, which occurred just one day after Trump ousted Comey, reinforces speculation that he had fired the head of the federal agency because of an ongoing investigation into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives.
Since Comey was removed from the top law enforcement position, the White House's explanation for his firing contradicted with explanations provided by Trump himself.
The document obtained by the Times was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and was circulated as the official account of the meeting. One American official read the notes to the Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer didn't dispute the account, saying that Comey had put unnecessary pressure on the president's ability to fulfill his diplomatic duties in matters concerning Syria, Ukraine, and the Islamic State.
“By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia,” Spicer said. “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”