During an interview with NBC news, US President Donald Trump said that he was going to fire former FBI Director James Comey "regardless" of recommendations from Justice Department officials.
The remark torpedoes the narrative put out by the White House that Trump had sought the views of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General before deciding to dismiss Comey. In his letter to Comey, Trump notes the recommendations as the reason for his decision.
Trump also went on to call Comey a "showboat" and a "grandstander" during the interview, saying that "the FBI has been in turmoil".
In Trump's letter dismssing Comey, he also noted that the former director had informed him three times that he was not under investigation by the bureau – something he reiterated during the interview, "I asked him, yes," Trump said when questioned.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe would not confirm whether or not Comey had said that to Trump, adding that it was not standard practice for the FBI.
McCabe did however contradict the White House's version of events in other ways. McCabe said that Comey had "broad support" in the bureau whereas the White House had said that Comey was unpopular within the agency.
He also said that the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the recent election was "highly significant", going against White House attempts to play down the probe.
"I know that I'm not under investigation. Me personally. I'm not talking about campaigns or anything else. I am not under investigation," Trump said during the NBC interview.
Many across the US political spectrum have questioned the timing of Comey's dismissal - a worry that was compounded when reports said Comey had asked for further money to resource the Russia investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, days before Rosenstein recommended his removal.