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Trump to Russians in Oval Office: Firing 'nut job' Comey eased pressure, NYT reports

Jacob Pramuk

In an Oval Office meeting last week, President Donald Trump reportedly told Russian diplomats that ex-FBI Director James Comey is a "nut job" and that firing him relieved "great pressure," according to The New York Times.

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump reportedly said. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."

The newspaper cited a document summarizing the meeting. The summary was read to the Times by an American official.

The newspaper notes that press secretary Sean Spicer "did not dispute the account." The White House also did not dispute it when asked subsequently by NBC News.

The White House spokesman said in a statement to CNBC that Comey "created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia."

The meeting with Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and its ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, came a day after Trump abruptly fired Comey. The FBI is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

That probe extends to looking into any possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The Justice Department this week appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the investigation.

The president on Thursday muddled his explanation for firing Comey last week, saying he ousted him because he was "very unpopular with most people." He also highlighted the "very, very strong recommendation" he got from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

However, Trump told NBC News last week that he would have fired Comey "regardless" of what the Justice Department said. He added that he was thinking of the "Russia thing" when he did so.

Read the full Times story here.

Watch: Trump says firing Comey eased pressure