Less than an hour after President Trump’s departure for the Middle East and the start of a hard-won collective Friday happy hour, the Gray Lady broke in with yet another story about Trump.
The New York Times reported that a document summarizing last week’s meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak at the White House, revealed that the president told the Russian officials, “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job.” He also told them, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”
The controversial May 10th meeting came the day after he fired the FBI director. The meeting had already drawn indignation from the American public as it was revealed American journalists were banned from the meeting but the photographers and reporters from state-run Russian news agency TASS were welcomed in.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs soon tweeted a photo of Trump and Lavrov in the Oval Office shaking hands, and the Russian Embassy tweeted a photo of a smiling Trump shaking hands with Kislyak.
It was then later revealed that Trump had shared intelligence from an Israeli counterterrorism operation with the Russian officials, stirring further public disgust and outrage.
According to article, the document with Trump’s comments came from an official meeting account and was read to The New York Times by an American official. A second official “confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not deny the account and said in a statement, “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 wrapped up his statement by saying that the real story is the undermining of national security by “the leaking of private and highly classified conversations,” echoing popular Republican talking points.
In March, Comey told Congress that the FBI was investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. Trump has denied any collusion and has hesitated calling out the Russians for meddling in the election. Instead he has suggested hacks such as the one of John Podesta’s email could just as likely have been done by a 400-lb. guy sitting on his bed.