Fact check: Trump’s baseless claim of ‘fudged’ NBC tape

Eric Tucker and Hope Yen
Associated Press

Washington – President Donald Trump is making a baseless charge that NBC News somehow doctored an interview in which he cites the Russia investigation as a factor behind firing FBI director James Comey.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump claims that NBC anchor Lester Holt was “caught fudging” the May 2017 interview.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump claims that NBC anchor Lester Holt was “caught fudging” the May 2017 interview.

No evidence has been put forward by Trump or the White House showing that.

A look at the claim:

TRUMP: “What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks - with @NBCNews being the worst … When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!” – tweet Thursday.

THE FACTS: There is no evidence of the NBC interview having been “fudged” or doctored in any way, and the White House didn’t immediately respond to requests regarding what Trump was referring to. NBC declined to comment.

In the interview, Trump referred in part to “this Russia thing” as a consideration in his decision to fire Comey. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible obstruction of justice in the Russia probe.

It’s possible Trump is frustrated that other comments from the same interview may have received less attention.

Minutes after he acknowledged that “this Russia thing” was on his mind when he fired Comey, Trump also acknowledged that he knew the decision to terminate him might actually prolong the investigation. In fact it did, with Mueller investigating the firing for potential obstruction of justice.

“I said to myself, I might even lengthen out the investigation. But I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Trump said. “He’s the wrong man for that position.”

His lawyers and other supporters have contended that that sentiment is actually helpful for the president, suggesting he couldn’t have been trying to obstruct the investigation by doing something that he knew would actually draw it out longer.

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.