Why am I not under FBI investigation: Donald Trump
US president Donald Trump has insisted he is not under probe, while turning off the FBI director he fired as a ‘showboat’ and ‘grandstander’.
Comey was leading an inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the US election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.
Trump has turned off the probe as a ‘charade’, a claim directly contradicted by Comey's successor.
In his first interview since firing the FBI director, Trump told NBC News on Thursday he had asked Comey whether he was under investigation.
‘I said, if it's possible would you let me know, 'Am I under investigation?' He said: 'You are not under investigation.’’
‘I know I'm not under investigation,’ Trump told the interviewer, repeating a claim he made in Tuesday's letter of dismissal to Comey.
The president also appeared to undercut the initial White House explanation that he fired Comey on the recommendation of top justice officials.
‘He's a showboat. He's a grandstander. The FBI has been in turmoil. I was going to fire Comey. My decision,’ Trump said.
‘I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.’
‘There's no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians,’ he added.
Trump recently tweeted that the Russia-Trump collusion allegations were a ‘total hoax’.
But on Thursday he denied he wanted the FBI inquiry dropped.
‘In fact, I want the investigation speeded up,’ the president told NBC.
Trump said he had just sent a letter via a law firm to Republican senator Lindsey Graham stating that he has no stake in Russia.
‘I have nothing to do with Russia,’ he said. ‘I have no investments in Russia. I don't have property in Russia. I'm not involved with Russia.’
Many liberals had previously called for Comey to be removed, blaming his updates last year about the FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton's emails for Trump's shock election victory.
The White House has depicted the Russia inquiry as ‘probably one of the smallest things’ that the FBI has ‘got going on their plate’.
But acting FBI director Andrew McCabe said on Thursday that it was ‘a highly significant investigation’.
In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, he also cast doubt on White House claims that Comey had lost the confidence of his staff.
‘I can confidently tell you that the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to director Comey,’ McCabe said.
The acting FBI director vowed not to update the White House on the status of the investigation and to notify the Senate panel of any attempt to interfere with the inquiry.
Republican committee chairman Richard Burr asked McCabe if he had ever heard Comey tell Trump the president was not the subject of investigation.