While Donald Trump’s press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel wasn’t his first time facing journalists since the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor, it was the day’s most memorable. Mainly for how quickly the president shut down a reporter’s question about previous stories suggesting Trump had asked former FBI Director James Comey to ease, or outright end his investigation of ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Judging by the president’s face throughout the questions, and his abrupt response, he doesn’t seem too happy either.
“In the light of a very busy news week, a lot of people would like to get to the bottom of a couple of things,” said the journalist. “Give you a chance to go on record here.” Once his question about the previous Comey report, and whether or not he pressured Comey to cease his probe into Flynn’s Russian ties, came up, Trump quickly responded. “No. No. Next question.” When the reporter pressed on with a similar line of questioning, however, the president finally opened up with an all too familiar defense.
“I think it is totally ridiculous. Everyone thinks so,” he began. “Director Comey was very unpopular with most people. I actually thought when I made that decision, and I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. When I made that decision I actually thought it would be a bipartisan decision because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such terrible thing about Director Comey.”
Amazingly, Trump stuck to the official White House story citing Rosenstein’s memo — which Trump asked him to write — as the primary reason for firing Comey. When that particular line was initially touted last week, reports surfaced suggesting the Deputy AG was incensed about becoming the administration’s scapegoat, which led to his seeking a meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee. To make matters worse, senators who were briefed by Rosenstein earlier today told reporters he’d claimed knowing Trump was going to fire Comey at least a day before writing the memo.