US President Donald Trump told Russian officials that firing FBI director James Comey eased “great pressure” on him, US media report.
Citing a document summarising the meeting in the Oval Office last week, the New York Times said Mr Trump called Mr Comey a “real nut job”.
Mr Comey had been running an inquiry into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s election campaign.
The White House has not disputed the language used.
The report was published just as Mr Trump took off on a flight to the Middle East for the first leg of his first foreign tour as president.