Did Donald Trump Just Confess To This Crime On TV?

If there's two things that can be agreed upon about Donald Trump, it's that he likes attention and he doesn't like to lose. Both of those characteristics were on display in a recent interview on Fox News with Mark Levin, where Trump talked about his time as president. He also brought up former FBI director James Comey, who he unexpectedly fired in May 2017 (via NPR). 2017 is quite a long time ago in political years, so here's a quick refresher.

The White House gave this reason for Comey's firing: his handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server while she was Secretary of State was bungled, per NPR. Trump had long been advocating for Clinton to be arrested for the email scandal with "Lock her up" as a common chant at his rallies. He tweeted in July 2016 that it was "impossible for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton," but after looking into additional Clinton emails in October 2016, Comey didn't bring any charges against her.

Comey did, however, announce in March 2017 (after Trump was president), that the FBI would be investigating potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election and if there were any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia (via The New York Times). Two months later, Comey was fired. Fast forward more than four years, and Trump's talking about Comey in a way that's raising some eyebrows.

Critics think Trump confessed to obstruction of justice

If James Comey was fired in order to and try stop the Russian investigation, it could be seen as a felony: specifcally, obstruction of justice (per Lawfare). That's what some critics think Donald Trump admitted to Mark Levin in his Fox News interview.

The two of them spoke about Trump's new photo book, "Our Journey Together," and the Russia investigation came up in conversation. Trump said, "[A] lot of people say to me, 'How you survived is one of the most incredible things.' 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. If I didn't fire Comey, they were looking to take down the president of the United States ... I don't think [I] could've survived if I didn't fire him."

With that admission, critics see it as a clear confession of obstructing justice (per Salon). It's not the first time the Comey firing has been seen in this light. In Robert Mueller's 2019 report, which outlined the Russian investigation findings, he included 10 times Trump may have obstructed justice, including Comey's firing, but Trump wasn't charged. Mueller wrote at the time, "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him" (per Time). Only time will tell if any action is taken due to the inadvertent admission.