W.House refuses to rule out Trump Oval Office recordings

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 19, 2017

The straw that broke the camel's back for now-ousted FBI Director James Comey was the investigation he apparently wasn't doing.

The shifting accounts of the decision to fire Comey, whom Trump derided as a "showboat" and "grandstander", added to a mounting sense of uncertainty and chaos in the West Wing, as aides scrambled to get their stories straight and appease an angry president.

Earlier Friday, Trump issued an apparent warning to James Comey, tweeting that he had better hope there are no "tapes" of their conversations.

Even before Trump's provocative tweet, the White House was scrambling to clarify why Comey was sacked. "As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with ideal accuracy!" he tweeted.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the report and said the president would "never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty". But Trump shattered that explanation himself on Thursday when he said he had always meant to fire Comey and that his decision was linked to the ongoing investigation into his campaign's ties with Russian Federation. "I actually asked him, yes".

"I can tell you that the majority, the vast majority of Federal Bureau of Investigation employees, enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey", said McCabe, who called it the "greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him".

You don't need a masters degree in government to conclude that the firing was the direct result of Comey's rapidly widening investigation. Personally. I'm not talking about campaigns. "I'm not under investigation".

He refused to comment on what Comey did or didn't say, but when asked whether it would be common for an FBI director to notify someone they were not the target of an investigation, said "I'm not aware of that being a standard practice". Trump also revealed that he had the Russian Federation investigation in mind when he fired Comey. And in fact 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.

President Trump's much-reported frustration with Comey nearly certainly arose from the G-man's failure to get to the bottom of Obama aides' illegal leaks of classified information - leaks aimed at undermining the incoming Trump administration. Richard Burr of North Carolina, said on Friday.

Additionally, the New York Times reported Thursday that during that dinner, Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty. USA presidents are normally at pains to avoid any suggestion of interference or even commenting on ongoing investigations.

Noted legal scholar Laurence Tribe told AFP that if Comey did indeed answer Trump's question, it would violate Department of Justice rules and "would be unthinkably unethical and unprofessional in this situation".

"It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the president's decision to remove Director Comey is related directly to this investigation", he said. He said in an interview on Thursday with NBC News that Mr Comey gave him this assurance during the White House dinner and in two phone conversations.

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