The White House has responded to a NY Times report that President Donald Trump fired Comey, saying that it had relieved the “great pressure” that had developed due to the Russia probe.

“The president has always emphasized the importance of making deals with Russia as it relates to Syria, Ukraine, defeating ISIS and other key issues for the benefit and safety of the American people. By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia. The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.”

The NY Times cited a document read to the paper by an American official.

According to the NY Times, the surfaced document claimed Trump told the Russians “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.”

He also reportedly said, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Trump’s meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak in the Oval Office caused a bit of controversy after reports were published claiming Trump had disclosed intelligence from an Israeli counterterrorism operation during the meeting.

According to a third government official briefed on the matter, the president was simply using the topic of Comey as a negotiating tactic with the Russians. Trump was telling Mr. Lavrov of the “pressure” he was currently under. The official claims that Trump simply used the topic to segue into creating a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Lavrov regarding Syria, Ukraine and other issues by bringing up the fact that Russia interfering in the US election caused him great political strife.

Reports of a memo said to have been written by Comey details the former FBI director’s discomfort during a meeting with the president in which he asked Comey to “let it go” in regards to the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Some in the political hemisphere have called this report, if it can be verified, a possible obstruction of justice by the president.

This week, the Justice Department announced that former FBI director Robert Mueller would serve as a special counsel to continue the probe into the Trump campaign and any possible ties to Russia.

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