Trump Opens His Bizarre Victory Speech by Admitting He Obstructed Justice

“Had I not fired James Comey, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now.”

Patrick Semansky/AP

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In a rambling, seething victory speech to mark his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial, President Donald Trump appeared to admit that he attempted to obstruct an FBI investigation into his campaign by firing the agency’s director.

Before railing against the “evil” process, the “dirty cops,” “failed presidential candidate” Mitt Romney, and “horrible person” Nancy Pelosi, Trump brought up one of the most incendiary moments of his presidency: the firing of FBI Director James Comey. 

“Had I not fired James Comey, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now,” the president said at the outset of his remarks. The stunning statement appeared to admit, once again, that he removed Comey in order to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A quick refresher: During a May 2017 interview on NBC, Trump contradicted the White House’s initial account into Comey’s firing by saying that the decision would have come “regardless” of a Justice Department recommendation. In the same interview, Trump revealed that he had asked Comey whether he was under investigation—an admission many interpreted as an attempt to obstruct justice. The president has since backpedaled on that admission a number of times.

On Thursday, that alternating narrative appeared to land once again on the apparent confession that he did indeed attempt to obstruct justice—and that he viewed Comey as a lethal threat to his presidency.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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