United States President Donald Trump told Russian officials that firing FBI director James Comey eased “great pressure” on him, US media report.
The New York Times, citing a document summarising last week’s meeting, says he 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 ex-FBI chief has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the investigation.
The latest 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.
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the report.
“I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
The White House has not disputed the language used in the meeting at the Oval Office between Mr Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
In another development, the Washington Post reported that a current White House official is a “significant person of interest” in the investigation into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
It quoted unnamed sources familiar with the investigation as saying it was someone “close to the president” but they would not identify them further. The White House has denied there was collusion between the campaign and any “foreign entity”.