Trump declares James Comey 'should have never exonerated' Hillary Clinton

President Donald Trump has offered additional insight into his thinking about former FBI Director James Comey. Trump said in excerpts of an NBC News interview released Friday that Comey "should have never exonerated" Hillary Clinton.

Trump, referring to the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state, said that the steady flow of news surrounding that probe helped him as a candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

Click through Reactions to Trump's firing of James Comey:

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Reaction to Trump's firing of James Comey
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Reaction to Trump's firing of James Comey
But does anyone seriously believe @realDonaldTrump fired the top person investigating his ties to Russia because he was unfair to Hillary?
Trump firing Comey shows how frightened the Admin is over Russia investigation
Gov. John Kasich statement on James Comey https://t.co/Wrwj6sGqnz
Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia's interference in 2016 election https://t.co/LfKlwSw6iQ
EVERYONE who cares about independence & rule of law in America should be "troubled by the timing and reasoning" of… https://t.co/NZY4qh3uiz
This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.
Firing of Comey tainted by extraordinary conflict of interest. Independent prosecutor must be appointed to restore… https://t.co/lXBIJtTf18
First Pres Trump fired Sally Yates, then Preet Bharara. Now #Comey. Doesn't seem like an accident. We must have a special prosecutor.
If we don't get a special prosecutor, every American will rightfully suspect that the decision to fire #Comey was part of a cover-up.
We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.
Comey's fired, which means Trump must be one of the few people in DC that the FBI doesn't have something on.
My statement on James Comey https://t.co/NWBR8FGTCf
Elijah Cummings is calling for "immediate emergency hearings". https://t.co/iMsNmdPmHi
LEAHY: "This is nothing less than Nixonian." https://t.co/n4R4fWSgib
Sen. John McCain on Comey firing: "I regret that that took place. The president does have that authority, so I resp… https://t.co/pSEu3XXsj5
Statement on FBI Director Comey ➡ https://t.co/vB822Nw5OR
This should not be sugar coated. Firing Comey is up there in terms of the scariest things Trump has done.
I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.
My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of… https://t.co/qcm1PiFkNG
Ds were against Comey before they were for him.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ Statement on Director Comey #mepolitics https://t.co/LHCcbPJMsb https://t.co/xNUeGvENlv
Firing Comey has the foul stench of an attempt to stop an ongoing investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
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"I will tell you that what he did, what Comey did, had good moments for me as a candidate. I'm only talking as a candidate, I'm not saying as president," Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt, beginning to recount a July 2016 press conference in which Comey announced the FBI would not recommend charges against Clinton in the case.

"When he came out with that scathing set of circumstances, the server ... the emails, 33,000 emails ... Then he gets to the end and he said she's free as a bird," Trump said.

Trump fired Comey from the FBI on Tuesday, an action that stunned both Republicans and Democrats, and caught agents at the bureau by surprise because the agency is deep into an investigation to find potentially improper links between Trump associates and Russian operatives.

The president's original dismissal letter to Comey indicated that he was being fired for his handling of the Clinton email probe. On the campaign trail, Trump often declared that Clinton should have been prosecuted — despite the FBI's findings that no charges were warranted.

Trump reiterated his displeasure with Comey on NBC News: "He had a lot of pressure put on and he exonerated her. Should have never exonerated her."

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