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Donald Trump's Russia claim contradicts, um, Donald Trump's Russia claim

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump ...

Posted: May 31, 2018 9:19 PM
Updated: May 31, 2018 9:19 PM

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted this: "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!"

Some claims Trump makes are hard to fact check because they rely on subjective measures or are open for interpretation.

This is not one of those.

Let me take you back to early May 2017. In the early afternoon of May 9, Trump fires then-FBI Director James Comey.

The following day -- May 10 -- Trump meets with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. In that Oval Office huddle, Trump tells the two Russians this, according to The New York Times: "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."

Then on May 11, Trump sits down with NBC News' Lester Holt for a prescheduled interview. Holt asks Trump whether his justification for firing Comey came from the memo on the FBI director penned by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump says this:

"And, in fact, 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, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won.'"

Ahem.

There's just not a lot of gray area there. Especially when you consider this piece of information we've just learned about a meeting between then-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and Rosenstein, according to a memo McCabe wrote. Here's the key bit:

"In the meeting, Rosenstein said President Donald Trump had initially asked him to reference the Russia investigation. Rosenstein ultimately authored a controversial memo outlining the ways Comey had flouted Justice Department protocols leading up to the 2016 election but did not mention the Russia probe."

So:

  1. Trump told Russians the day after he fired Comey that he "faced great pressure because of Russia" and that pressure was lessened now that he had jettisoned his FBI director.
  2. Forty-eight hours after he fires Comey, Trump tells Holt that he was considering "this Russia thing" when he fired Comey, not the memo from Rosenstein.
  3. Rosenstein told McCabe that Trump asked him to mention the Russia investigation in the memo the President kind of, sort of hung the firing of Comey on.

This is an open-and-shut case.

Whether you think Trump fired Comey because he wanted to remove someone who was aggressively looking into troublesome connections between him and the Russians or he did so only because Comey refused to acknowledge that the Russia probe was a baseless witch hunt, it's impossible to conclude, as Trump did on Thursday morning, that Russia has zero to do with Comey's dismissal. Literally impossible.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
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Madison138236
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Lauderdale94281
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Leflore52256
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Monroe43635
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Attala37524
Simpson3733
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Winston28711
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Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
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Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
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Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
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Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
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Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
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