Trump threatens Comey: 'Better hope' there are no tapes of our conversations
- Martin Rowe
President Trump threatened former FBI Director James Comey around the possibility that their private conversations were recorded.
In a post on Twitter, Trump blamed his active presidency for any misrepresentations.
With growing evidence that Mr. Trump and his aides were working with the Russians to infect America's democratic process, we believe President Trump's latest actions are an attempt to quash the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe by firing Mr. Comey and naming his replacement.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the report and said the president would "never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty".
Trump's behavior raises "the specter of possible intimidation and obstruction of justice", wrote Reps. John Conyers and Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, in a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn.
He had also led the probe into the email practices of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who blamed him in part for her defeat.
Last week, his son-in-law's sister used her White House connection to try to persuade investors in China to pump money into a New Jersey housing development in exchange for USA visas and a path to citizenship. "Another president, I won't use names, but another president doesn't doing what I'm doing". I won't talk about that. "As far as I'm concerned, I want that thing to be absolutely done properly".
"I'm sure he will be, I hope".
Rogers, who declined to comment, had criticized Trump's unsubstantiated claim in March that Obama spied on him, saying on CNN that the president had "put another quarter in the conspiracy parking meter". Was he trying to intimidate Comey?
While Democrats continue to decry the timing of Comey's firing was a way to short-circuit the ongoing counterintelligence probe, Trump tweeted that is is all politics: "Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election". Comey has not explicitly denied the account.
On Friday, a person close to the former director recounted a different version.
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The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump had pressed Comey for his loyalty in a January 27 dinner meeting, but that he only promised that "he would be honest with him always".
The firing of Comey already has left Trump with the dubious distinction of being the first president since Nixon to dismiss a law enforcement official overseeing an investigation tied to the White House. Adam Schiff of California, said that Trump should hand over any such tapes to lawmakers - or publicly admit none actually exist.
Mr Trump told NBC: "When I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won". He said the discussions happened in two phone calls and at a dinner in which Comey was asking to keep his job.
It was not clear when Comey would speak for himself.
On Thursday, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate intelligence committee that Comey "enjoyed broad support within the FBI and does to this day", directly refuting the White House line that Comey had lost the confidence of rank-and-file FBI employees.
The face-to-face meeting between the president and the director raised other concerns.
The interview on Fox comes after a week of intense scrutiny of Trump following his unexpected dismissal of Comey. "Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and still does to this day". He advised the Trump presidential transition team on national security issues but was asked to leave at about the same time New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was removed as head of the transition.
Trump disparaged Comey as "a showboat" and "a grandstander" in an interview with NBC News aired Thursday, May 11. When Trump then pressed for "honest loyalty, " Comey told him, "You will have that, " the associates said. Each of the retired agents was critical of Trump's decision to fire Comey and doubted the White House's initial claims that Comey's handling of the Clinton email controversy was the reason he was booted.
They all said it Trump made the decision only after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his top deputy delivered memos to Trump calling for Comey's termination because he had circumvented Justice Department leadership twice a year ago in his handling of Hillary Clinton's personal email server use as secretary of state.
Spicer said Trump's "robust schedule" means that "sometimes we don't get an opportunity to get in to see him and get his full thinking". But he called Trump's tweet "inappropriate".
"We don't have press conferences", Trump said.
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