President Trump on Wednesday took to Twitter to deny that he fired James Comey as FBI director because of the bureau’s “phony” investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including possible interaction with the Trump campaign.

Trump’s tweet came shortly after an appearance by Comey on NBC’s “Today” show to promote his new book, during which Comey asserted there “could be” an obstruction of justice case to be made against Trump given the circumstances under which he was fired.

“Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

During the segment, anchor Savannah Guthrie referenced comments Trump made in a May 2017 interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that seemed to suggest Trump’s rationale for firing Comey include the FBI’s Russia investigation.

“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,’ ” Trump told Holt.

On Wednesday, Guthrie asked Comey if one could bring an obstruction case against Trump based on those comments.


“You might,” Comey said. “It would depend on what all the other facts are around that.”

He later said it “could be obstruction of justice.”

The “Today” interview was the latest in a media blitz by Comey in support of his tell-all book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” which describes Trump’s presidency as a “forest fire” and portrays the president as an ego-driven congenital liar.

Comey was also scheduled to appear later Wednesday morning on ABC’s “The View.”

Trump has lashed out repeatedly against Comey in the run-up to the book’s publication. In a tweet last week, Trump called Comey a “weak and untruthful slime ball” who deserved to “be fired for the terrible job he did.”

During the “Today” show interview, Guthrie also asked Comey why he didn’t tell Trump that his behavior toward the FBI was inappropriate prior to his firing. Among other things, Comey has said Trump asked him for his loyalty and to lay off Trump’s then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“Well, I guess the question is, ‘What does standing up mean in that context?’ ” Comey said. “I stared at him, didn’t blink, didn’t make a sound.”

Pressed by Guthrie, Comey continued: “I don’t know whether I should have done it differently, but in the moment it seemed like the thing to do was make sure you’re not agreeing to something inappropriate.”

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