Trump threatens Comey, suggests possible leaks of 'tapes'

Thursday, 18 May, 2017

Trump was referencing Clapper's testimony before Senate Judiciary subcommittee Monday that he was not aware of any evidence demonstrating collusion, but Clapper also said he had been unaware of an FBI investigation into the matter until FBI Director James Comey announced it publicly at a House hearing in March.

It also escalated a potentially damaging standoff between a fuming, undisciplined president and the unorthodox lawman he dismissed three days earlier.

The White House's explanations continued to crumble throughout the day Thursday. But Trump on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that the Russian Federation investigation - which he dismissed as a "made-up story" - was also on his mind as he ousted the man overseeing the probe.

The White House had no immediate comment and no White House aide appeared on the Sunday news shows, leaving Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, to defend Trump.

"Well that I can't talk about". Comey declined, instead offering "honest".

"Relish the opportunity to be an outsider", Trump said.

When asked whether the FBI's Russian Federation investigation is fake news, or a "witch hunt", as Trump called it this morning in another tweet, Clapper told MSNBC on Friday: "I don't believe it is". Comey has not explicitly denied the account.

On Friday, a person close to the former director recounted a different version.

Now in an interview with MSNBC's Lester Holt, President Trump says that he was going to fire Comey "regardless" of what the Justice Department had to say. Details of the dinner were first reported by The New York Times. Trump's firing of Comey already has left him with the dubious distinction of being the first president since Nixon to fire a law enforcement official overseeing an investigation tied to the White House. They also commented only condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. In Florida, where the president frequently spends weekends, both parties must consent to recording.

Also Friday, the president floated the idea of canceling the White House's daily press briefings, writing on Twitter that "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"

Trump fired Comey Tuesday, declaring that people on both sides of the aisle had lost faith in the director.

The face-to-face meeting between the president and the director raised other concerns.

Former FBI Director James Comey will not testify before the Senate intelligence committee next week, according to the panel's vice chairman, Democratic Sen.

The president told NBC he had personally asked Comey whether he was under investigation - an admission that could expose the president to allegations of interfering with the ongoing FBI probe.

Mr Trump said in an interview with television network NBC that the Russian Federation investigation factored into his decision to fire Mr Comey.

"He knew that what he did could be detrimental to himself, it could lengthen the investigation, but he knew it was the right thing for the country", he said.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump fired Comey only after getting a recommendation from the Department of Justice.

Comey was in the midst of a probe into Kremlin influence over last year's election.

The president was no kinder to Comey on Thursday, calling him names and saying he'd left the Federal Bureau of Investigation in "virtual turmoil". But he called Trump's tweet "inappropriate".

Trump made the remarks to reporters prior to speaking to about 50,000 people at Liberty University in Lynchburg, where he did not mention Comey or the controversy his dismissal on Tuesday caused. He dismissed as less desirable at least two of the 14 candidates under consideration by Trump, former Rep. Mike Rogers of MI and Sen.