Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has emerged as Donald Trump's newest legal spokesman, says the president fired James Comey last year because he refused to say publicly that he wasn't under federal investigation.
Giuliani said Wednesday night that the then-FBI director lost his job 'because Comey would not, among other things, say that he [Trump] wasn't a target' of what was then an FBI probe of allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian agents during the 2016 election season.
The White House's initial explanation for sacking Comey was that he had mishandled the 2016 probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified material on a private, unsecured email server while she was secretary of state.
But Trump later added to that, saying during an NBC News interview that he had been thinking of 'this Russia thing' when he decided to send Comey packing.
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Another bombshell: Rudy Giuliani said that Trump fired Comey because the FBI director would not make a public statement that the president was not a target for the agency's then Russia probe
New development: Giuliani's revelation is the first time James Comey's firing has been put down to a refusal to give the president a public pass on Russia
In a Fox News Channel interview, Giuliani suggested Trump was in the right for pink-slipping Comey over his unwillingness to publicly clear his name, and said he gave that NBC interview specifically 'to explain to the American people the president was not the target of the investigation.'
'Comey had no answer for why he didn't say this, even though he had done the same thing for Hillary,' Giuliani said.
'So, you can't blame the president for feeling, "I am not being treated the same way they were."
Comey acknowledges that he told Trump personally on several occasions, that the FBI wasn't targeting him personally.
The lawman famously announced in early July 2016 that the FBI's investigation of Clinton had ended, and that 'no reasonable prosecutor' would have charged her with a crime – angering Republicans who saw the result as