LOS ANGELES — President Donald Trump asked former FBI chief James Comey if he was under investigation for alleged ties to Russia, he revealed during an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, and contradicted previous reports about how the senior law-enforcement officer was dispatched from his office.
NBC broke into the network’s regularly scheduled programming to report on Holt’s interview with the President, who has come under fire in recent days. Comey was supervising an investigation into possible Russian ties to his campaign.
In the exclusive interview Thursday with NBC, Trump called Comey a “showboat” and revealed he asked Comey whether he was under investigation for alleged ties to Russia.
Trump also told Holt that he asked Comey whether he was under investigation. He said that he spoke to Comey once over dinner and twice by phone.
“I said, ‘If it is possible, would you let me know [if] I am under investigation’? He said, ‘You are not under investigation.’”
The White House had made claims previously that a Justice Department recommendation had spurred the President to oust the FBI chief. Reports in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, relying on anonymous sources, have described the President’s claim that Comey told him he was not under investigation as being false. .
Trump also said that he had been planning to fire Comey, apparently contradicting initial reports from the White House that it was a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that spurred Comey’s ouster.
NBC News plans to show the interview on its “NBC Nightly News” and “Today.”