— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) May 11, 2017
If numerous reports regarding the behind-the-scenes turmoil of Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey weren’t bad enough, the president dug himself into a slightly deeper hole during a new interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. The hole in question came about when Holt brought up Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation to fire Comey, which — along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ own letter — the White House cited as the primary impetus for termination. Seeing as how Rosenstein is apparently unhappy with this turn of events, it was a fair question.
Hence why Trump freely answered it by saying he was going to fire Comey regardless of whatever Rosenstein and Sessions’ recommendations were:
“What I did is, I was going to fire Comey. My decision… I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way… I was going to fire regardless of recommendation. He made a recommendation. He’s highly respected. Very good guy. Very smart guy. The Democrats like him. The Republicans like him. He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”
Trump’s insistence that he was going to fire Comey no matter what Rosenstein or Sessions said is telling, especially since his admission confirms the general gist of a Washington Post report detailing what lead to Comey’s firing on Tuesday. The story claimed the president spent the better part of last week stewing over the FBI director, whom he thought was “using the Russia probe to become a martyr.” So after a weekend of golfing, Trump ordered Rosenstein and Sessions “to explain in writing the case against Comey” and promptly fired him the following day.