Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that President Trump discussed the firing of former FBI Director James Comey with top Russian diplomats because he wanted to show them he is not distracted by events in Washington.
“So I think the point he was making is, ‘I’m not going to be distracted by those things here at home or let them get in the way of important work of engaging Russia to see what can be done to improve this relationship,’” Tillerson told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
The New York Times broke the news Friday that Trump told Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that he fired Comey to take “off” some of the pressure.
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off,” Trump reportedly said
The president’s reported comments have led many to question what kind of pressure Comey’s firing aimed to alleviate.
Tillerson also said Trump stressed that the U.S. relationship with Moscow has hit an all-time low.
“The president, I think, reemphasized the message to the Russians that the relationship is at a low point,” Tillerson added.
Trump fired Comey amid an ongoing investigation into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the Russians, an allegation the president has repeatedly denied.
- Updated: 10:46 a.m.