"Oh, I was going to fire (James Comey) regardless of recommendation," President Trump told NBC News in an interview. "He (the Deputy Attorney General) had made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it," he said.
"In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, 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," he said.
"The reason they should've won it is the electoral college is almost impossible for a Republican to win. It's very hard because you start off at such a disadvantage. So, everybody was thinking they should've won the election. This was an excuse for having lost an election," President Trump said as he strongly defended himself during the interview.
President Trump said he fired Mr Comey because he wanted somebody who was competent to run the FBI. "I just want somebody that's competent. I am a big fan of the FBI. I love the FBI," he said, adding that he wants the investigations to be done properly. "As far as I'm concerned, I want that thing to be absolutely done properly. When I did this now, I said I probably maybe will confuse people. Maybe I'll expand that. I'll lengthen the time because it should be over with. In my opinion, should've been over with a long time ago because all it is an excuse," he said.
"But I said to myself I might even lengthen out the investigation. But I have to do the right thing for the American people. He (Comey) is the wrong man for that position," President Trump said in response to a question.
Donald Trump said Mr Comey asked for a dinner with him because he wanted to stay in this position. "He wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. We had a very nice dinner at the White House...very early on. That dinner was arranged. I think he asked for the dinner. He wanted to stay on as the FBI head. And I said I'll, you know, consider. We'll see what happens," he said.
"But we had a very nice dinner. And at that time, he told you are not under investigation... which I knew anyway," he said. "He said it once at dinner and then he said it twice during phone calls," he added.
"He (Comey) is not my man or not my man. I didn't appoint him. He was appointed long before me. But I want somebody who's going to do a great job. I will tell you, we're looking at candidates right now who could be spectacular. That's what I want for the FBI," he said.
"If Russia hacked -- if Russia did anything having to do with our election, I want to know about it," he said.
"If Russia or anybody else is trying to interfere with our elections, I think it's a horrible thing and I want to get to the bottom of it. I want to make sure it will never, ever happen," he said.
Responding to a question, President Trump said he met the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the request of President Vladimir Putin.
"When I spoke with Putin, he asked me whether or not I would see Lavrov. Now, should I say no, I'm not going to see him? I said, I will see him," he said. "During that discussion with Lavrov, I think we had a great discussion having to do with Syria, having to do with the Ukraine. And maybe, that discussion will lead to a lot less people getting killed and will lead ultimately to peace," Donald Trump said.
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