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Trump says NBC’s Lester Holt ‘caught fudging’ taped interview

Donald Trump and Lester Holt

President Donald Trump accused NBC News of altering the tape of an interview during which he cited the Russia investigation as a reason for why he fired FBI Director James Comey. | AP file photos

President Donald Trump accused NBC News of altering the tape of an interview during which he cited the Russia investigation as a reason for why he fired FBI Director James Comey.

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, the president railed against the media and took aim at NBC, seeming to accuse the network of “fudging” an interview he gave last year,  just days after he abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump offered no proof of the claim.

“What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with @NBCNews being the worst,” the president tweeted. “The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!”

NBC News declined to comment.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment about the president’s tweets.

Two days after the May 9, 2017, dismissal of Comey, Trump told NBC News that, while Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had endorsed Comey’s firing, he would have taken the same action even without the recommendation — and he cited Russia as a reason.

“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,'” Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Calling Comey a “showboat” and “grandstander” who led the agency into turmoil, Trump contradicted the White House and the explanation given in a termination letter for Comey’s firing, which said his dismissal was based on recommendations from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Both pointed to Comey’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation for his firing.

But since the NBC interview last year, the president has contradicted himself and denied that Comey’s firing was connected to the Russia investigation.

“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” Trump tweeted in May. “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”

When he was fired, Comey was heading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the country and Trump’s campaign. After his dismissal, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to head the probe, and it has since been broadened to include whether the president attempted to obstruct the investigation by terminating Comey.