You may remember that little over a week after Attorney General Sessions recused himself from the Russia invesitgation, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Though this all has long reeked of obstruction of justice on the part of the president, Trump on Thursday insisted he didn't fire Comey because of Russia.
Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
Part of the reason the Corrupt Mainstream Media has been led to believe Trump fired Comey because of the Russia investigation is that Trump himself has admitted it.
A day after the firing, Trump sat down for an interview with Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News. "When I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,'" Trump told Holt. "It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won." Trump's admission contradicted claims by the White House, Republican lawmakers and others that the Russia investigation was not a motivating factor in Comey's termination.
A week later, the Times reported that Trump said as much to Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval Office. "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to a document that summarized the meeting. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off."
There's more. In the memos he wrote detailing several of his interactions with Trump, Comey references a number of instances in which Trump tried to get the FBI director to let up with the Russia thing. "He then said he was trying to run the country and the cloud of this Russia business was making that difficult," read a memo recounting a call with the president in March 2017. Comey added that Trump "asked what he could do to lift the cloud."
It's unclear what other motive the president would have had for firing Comey. In his letter recommending Comey's termination, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cited the FBI director's careless handling of the Clinton investigation prior to the 2016 election, which likely impacted voter decisions on November 8, 2016. Seeing as this worked to Trump's benefit, it's unlikely the president would have axed Comey for this reason alone, or for this reason at all. The Times even reported on Wednesday that Trump tried to get Rosenstein to explicitly mention Russia in his letter suggesting Comey be fired.
The evidence that Trump was attempting to obstruct justice is substantial, and Trump has not taken kindly to the news that Special Counsel Mueller is investigating his attempts to keep Sessions on the case.
Rep.Trey Gowdy, “I don’t think so, I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward. If I were the President and I picked someone to be the country’s....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
....chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office, I would be frustrated too...and that’s how I read that - Senator Sessions, why didn’t you tell me before I picked you.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
....There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” And I wish I did!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
The president's long-running feud with his own attorney general was reinvigorated after the Times published a report detailing the extent of the president’s frustration with Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The report also noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Trump's efforts to prevent Sessions from stepping away from the case. Sessions' decision to recuse himself was endorsed by lawmakers from both parties, but Trump viewed it as a betrayal, as the attorney general presumably could have helped shield the president from the investigation.
On Thursday, he tweeted a quote from former U.S. attorney Joe DiGenova calling Sessions' decision to recuse himself an "unforced betrayal" of the president. It's unclear what Trump is trying to accomplish by attacking Sessions. Republicans in the Senate have said they will not vote to confirm another attorney general should Trump move to fire Sessions.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he would be shifting his focus away from the Russia investigation. "Sorry, I’ve got to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more, and not on the Rigged Russia Witch Hunt that should be investigating Clinton/Russia/FBI/Justice/Obama/Comey/Lynch etc.," the president wrote.