Trump slams James Comey as a "showboat" and "grandstander"

The acting FBI director has insisted that Mr Comey had "broad support" within the agency

Trump slams James Comey as a "showboat" and "grandstander"

Picture by: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

President Donald Trump has called sacked FBI director James Comey a "showboat" and a "grandstander".

In an extraordinarily personal and scathing assessment of the man he has just fired, Mr Trump insisted that Mr Comey left the FBI in turmoil.

But President Trump's dismissal of the very man in charge of investigating whether his campaign colluded with Russia has attracted allegations of a coverup.

His harsh comments, made in an interview with NBC News, were in contrast to those of the new acting FBI director Andrew McCabe.

Mr McCabe said that Mr Comey enjoyed "broad support" from the rank and file.

"I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life to work with him," Mr McCabe told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

During his interview, President Trump also contradicted his own surrogates on how the decision was made to fire Mr Comey.

Mr Trump insisted that, whatever the opinion of the attorney general and his deputy, he was "going to fire regardless of recommendation".

However, White House spokespeople and vice president Mike Pence all said that Mr Trump acted on the recommendation of these officials.

Mr Trump also said that Mr Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he personally was not under investigation over his campaigns potential ties to Russia - expanding on a note in his dismissal letter to Mr Comey.

"I know one thing - I know that I'm not under investigation - me, personally. I'm not talking about campaigns, I'm talking about anything else."

He suggested he wanted the investigation to progress, saying: "I want that to be so strong and so good. And I want it to happen."

President Trump also insisted he had no investments or business interests in Russia, and that he was not at all worried about the "optics" of meeting the Russian foreign minister at the White House the morning after firing the director of the FBI.