Sean Spicer didn't dodge, duck, or demur. Instead, the press secretary confirmed what the New York Times already reported. The president did tell the Russians that to ease pressure on the White House he fired FBI Director James Comey, a lawman Trump described as "a real nut job."
"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump told the Russian ambassador, the Times reported and Spicer confirmed. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."
That is the clearest explanation of Trump's rationale for the decision so far and there's only one thing left for Spicer to do. He needs to explain, quite literally, Trump's definition of a "nut job."
Obviously, the memorandum written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein can now be dismissed. Trump just made clear to the Russians what every thinking person already concluded. Comey didn't lose his job because he bungled the investigation of the Clinton email controversy — the FBI director got fired for crossing the president.
So far Trump has described Comey as "a showboat" and a "grandstander." And while it's true that Comey craved the public spotlight to the administration's chagrin, a specific offense hasn't been named to justify the "nut job" jab.
At this point, an army of Pepe the Frogs will remind everyone about that one time President Barack Obama told former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 that "after my election I have more flexibility." But that's not relevant. Obama's gaffe was a political embarrassment. Trump's blunder, on the other hand, threatens to undermine national security and his presidency.
Maybe the president caught the FBI director lurking in the White House curtains or some other trivial offense. But a much more plausible explanation as of this afternoon, out of Trump's own mouth, seems to be that Trump fired Comey for insisting on pressing the Russia matter, and perhaps even for getting too close.
Until Spicer gives the definition of a nut job, we can only assume that Trump thinks anyone who crosses him is crazy.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.