President Donald Trump stated on May 11 that Russia must feel amused about the disputes raging in the U.S. following the president's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Trump announced the removal of Comey on May 9, stating that he was acting on legal advice from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Washington Examiner reports.
"Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election," Trump tweeted on May 11, according to the Examiner.
Democrats and critics of Trump's decision to remove Comey allege he did so because of his frustration with the FBI's move to accelerate the investigation into the Trump administration's possible ties to Russia.
Asked about the Comey affair, Russian President Vladimir Putin maintained that Moscow had nothing to do with it.
"Your question looks very funny for me," Putin said when asked, the Independent reported.
"We have nothing to do with it," he added. "President Trump is acting in accordance with his law and constitution."
Putin noted that the firing would not interfere with Russia-U.S. relations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Trump at the White House on May 10, during which Trump reportedly stressed his desire to build better relations between the two countries.
Trump's decision to remove Comey followed advice from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.
"I have received ... letters from the attorney general and deputy attorney general of the United States recommending your dismissal as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Trump wrote in a letter to Comey, the Examiner reports. "I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately."
However, in his first interview following Comey's firing, Trump painted a different picture when he suggested that the decision was his.
"He's a showboat," Trump said in the NBC News interview, according to the BBC. "He's a grandstander. The FBI has been in turmoil. I was going to fire Comey. My decision."
An NBC/Survey Monkey online poll conducted on May 10 and May 11 suggests a majority of Americans do not agree with Trump's decision and believe it was inappropriate because Comey was leading the investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russian officials who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
While 38 percent of Americans said Trump's action was appropriate, 54 percent answered that it was not appropriate.
Forty-six percent of respondents thought Trump acted because of Comey's involvement in the inquiry into Russia, a suggestion the White House has denied, while 24 percent accepted the Trump administration's official explanation for Comey's firing: his alleged mishandling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's emails, CNBC reports.