NEW YORK CITY — US President Donald Trump threatened ousted FBI Director James Comey in a Friday morning tweet.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote.
In an interview Thursday with NBC News, Trump said he had a small handful of conversations with Comey in which the FBI director assured him he was not under investigation. Comey never made similar comments publicly.
The only in-person instance described by Trump was the initial conversation in which the president’s status was discussed, which Trump described as a “nice dinner.”
The New York Times reported Thursday that during that dinner, Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him.
Comey declined Trump’s request for loyalty at least twice during the dinner, The Times reported, citing two people close to Comey whom The Times said had knowledge of the conversation.
Elsewhere in the NBC interview with Lester Holt, Trump trampled all over the White House narrative about why Comey was fired, insisting that he would have fired Comey regardless of whatever recommendation he received from his Department of Justice and admitting that the FBI’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials factored into his decision.
Top White House officials such as Vice President Mike Pence and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders days earlier insisted Trump acted on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, only deciding to fire Comey after he received a letter criticising Comey’s handling of the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
His tweet threatening Comey was the latest in a lengthy tweetstorm he launched Friday morning, most of which was aimed at the “fake media.” Trump also insisted that “as a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” The president, as a result, suggested he may cancel press briefings.
Bryan Logan contributed to this report.
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