Former President Donald Trump admitted on Sunday night that he fired ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey in May 2017 while Comey was leading the FBI’s probe into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and operatives within the Russian government.

That led to the appointment of Robert Mueller – Comey’s predecessor at the FBI – as special counsel. In his final report in 2019, Mueller, whom Trump also contemplated firing, outlined 10 instances of obstruction of justice by Trump, including the firing of Comey, but declined to pursue indictments due to Trump being a sitting president. Instead, Mueller tasked Congress with prosecuting Trump through impeachment, which eventually occurred twice but for different high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump’s confession could, however, be cited as evidence of obstruction of justice if any charges were to be levied against him in a hypothetical future case.

“Don’t forget, I fired Comey. Had I not fired Comey, you might not be talking to me right now about a beautiful book about four years in the White House and we’ll see about the future. The future is gonna be very interesting. But I fired Comey – that whole group – and now that group is coming back again? I mean, it’s not believable. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Trump told Fox News host Mark Levin.

Trump complained about the “Deep State,” to which he frequently alluded during his presidency as a shadowy force that was conspiring to destroy him.

“They’ve been in the Justice Department, they’ve been in the FBI, they’ve been in the CIA, so you’re coming into a hornet’s nest,” Trump mused.

“As I was gonna say before if I didn’t fire Comey, they were looking to take down the President of the United States. If I didn’t fire him – and some people said, ‘you made a mistake when you fired Comey,’ and now those same people said it was the most incredible, instinctual moves that they’ve ever seen, cause I might be here with you, perhaps, we’ll be talking about something else – but I don’t think could’ve survived if I didn’t fire him, because it was like a hornet’s nest. When I fired him, they all went crazy,” Trump said, adding that “they’re using prosecutors all over the place to hurt people, to hurt Republicans. I will say that [former Attorney General] Bill Barr certainly didn’t do that. He certainly didn’t.”

This was not the first time that Trump has bragged about terminating Comey. On May 11, 2017, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he “was gonna fire regardless of recommendation” by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was overseeing the Russia probe.

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