The White House briefing room is full of the president’s aides, as the president has been doing for the past few weeks.
The staffs’ phones are constantly buzzing, the conversation is flowing between the president and the press secretary and the briefing room can be a noisy place.
The president, who is rarely in the same room with his staff as he usually is, has become accustomed to a constant stream of media questions during his daily briefings, where he is usually not even there.
And on Monday, he did a double-take when asked to comment on the recent firing of FBI Director James Comey.
The president was asked about Comey’s dismissal during a brief White House news conference.
“I don’t know what the reason was.
I don’t think it was a good idea.
He’s got an investigation into a lot of things,” Trump said, apparently unaware of Comey’s firing.
A few minutes later, Trump made another surprising comment about Comey.
“I like people that don’t take sides,” Trump told reporters.
Comey, a longtime FBI official who was fired by Trump last week, was in charge of the agency’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with it.
The FBI has been conducting a wide-ranging probe of Trump and his associates for months.
At one point during the briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if there was any evidence to suggest that the president had made a deal with Russia on the firing of Comey.
Sanders said that there had been no such conversation, but then she quickly clarified that there was.
Trump’s comments Monday followed a report from The New York Times that he had been discussing his possible plans to fire Comey with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and other senior Russian officials.
A senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday that Trump had not discussed firing Comey with Lavrov, but had been in regular contact with Russian officials during the election.
On Monday, the president told reporters that Comey’s termination was a “very big deal.”
“It was a very big deal, and I thought it was the right thing to do,” Trump declared.
When pressed by reporters on whether the president still believed in firing Comey, Trump replied, “I think it’s a big deal,” and then continued to express confidence in his ability to do it.
“I think he was doing a really good job.
He was doing it with very little help from me, from my friends,” Trump added.
“It’s the job of the director of the FBI to be independent, to look into it, to make the right decision.
“He does not believe that the job should be in the hands of the deputy director. “
The president has said many times he does not want to be fired,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday.
“And I think the president is confident that the director will make the appropriate decision.””
The White House has repeatedly refused to say whether the firing was related to the Russia investigation.”
And I think the president is confident that the director will make the appropriate decision.”
The White House has repeatedly refused to say whether the firing was related to the Russia investigation.
Trump said he had nothing to do with the firing.
“Nothing,” Trump tweeted.
Nothing to do.
I was never under investigation.”
The president’s remarks Monday were in stark contrast to his public comments in recent days.
Trump had previously said that he thought Comey should have stayed on as FBI director, even after the agency was caught red-handed surveilling the phones of Trump campaign officials.
“When I found out about it, I thought maybe he should have been fired,” Trump later told NBC News’ Lester Holt.
“Because it was like, oh my God, it was so illegal.”
But on Tuesday, Trump said he was not under investigation at all.
He said, “What I’m not doing is taking advantage of a situation to do something that I don´t think is appropriate, I donít think it´s the right time for me to do.”
The firing of the acting FBI director was also widely seen as a sign that Trump was getting ready to roll back his campaign promises to rollback environmental regulations.
And the president appeared to suggest in his comments Monday that he would try to push back against the EPA regulations he was pushing to dismantle.
The Trump administration has been under intense pressure from Republicans and Democrats to release the transcripts of the Oval Office conversations in which the president expressed support for Comey’s removal.
A number of Republicans and Democratic senators have also demanded that the administration provide the transcripts.
White House press secretaries have not released the transcripts to reporters, even as some Republicans and congressional leaders have demanded them.
The White Trump administration said in a statement on Tuesday: “As is normal in the circumstances surrounding these types of matters, the President has no