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By Ted Goodman
President Donald Trump called former FBI Director James Comey a “showboat” in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt set to air Thursday evening.
“He’s a showboat, he’s grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” President Trump said of Comey, according to NBC News. “You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”
The president fired Comey Tuesday, four years into his ten year term. The White House initially cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as the reason for his dismissal.
The president revealed that he had asked Comey if he was under FBI investigation. “I actually asked him,” he told Holt. “I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, ‘Am I under investigation?’” Trump said, adding that Comey told him that he is not under investigation.
The president told Holt that Comey cleared him over dinner. “I had a dinner with him, he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on,” Trump said, according to Fox News. It was over dinner that Comey told the president that he was not under investigation.
Trump said that he had been planning to fire Comey before receiving a recommendation to do so from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein sent a letter to the president, stating that he had lost confidence in Comey following his mishandling of the Clinton investigation.
NBC plans to air the full 31 minute interview on NBC Nightly News and Friday morning on the Today Show.