U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly told the Russian officials during a meet at the Oval office on May 10 that firing "nut job" FBI Director James Comey relieved "great pressure."
"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," The New York Times quoted Trump as saying. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."
Trump's Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak came one day after Comey was fired.
The conversation indicates that Trump's decision of firing Comey was necessitated because of concern over the feds probe into Russia's meddling in the election and possible collusion with team Trump.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not refute the Times story but said that it was Comey's "grandstanding and politicizing" of the Russia investigation that put pressure on the administration's ability to engage Moscow.
"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," Spicer said in a statement to CNN.
"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia," he added.
During this meet with Russian officials, Trump reportedly shared highly classified conversations, after which the former head of Mossad's intelligence directorate warned of its impact on the US-Israeli intelligence cooperation.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)