Spicer declines to answer whether Pres. Trump records Oval Office conversations
- Author: Leroy Wright May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 5:33
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., quickly spoke out against President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
In the tweet, Trump also warned Comey about leaking to the press: "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" The bureau is investigating Russia's impact on the election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign. They said that Trump requested the meeting, not Comey.
The president tweeted, "As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with flawless accuracy!"
Even before Trump's provocative tweet, the White House was scrambling to clarify why Comey was sacked.
The White House released a short statement May 9 announcing that the president had terminated Comey based on the "clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions".
"That's not a threat. He's simply stating a fact", Spicer said tersely.
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.
"Presidents are supposed to have stopped routinely taping visitors without their knowledge when Nixon's taping system was revealed in 1973", tweeted presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
In his morning tweetstorm, Trump brought the issue back to Russian Federation, referring to the assertion by the former head of national intelligence that Trump was, to his knowledge, not colluding with Moscow.
The president's morning Twitter comments again raised the specter of Richard Nixon, who secretly taped conversations and telephone calls in the White House during the Watergate investigation that ultimately led to his downfall.
These reasons contradicted the White House's assertions - and even the widely disseminated termination letter Trump sent Comey - that the dismissal was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who criticized Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton previous year. In a letter to Comey, Trump stated that the former FBI chief assured him on three separate occasions that he was not under investigation in the Russian Federation probe.
"We can make a fast decision", Trump said, explaining the FBI's vetting process.
The startling admission fanned suggestions Trump may be interfering with the investigation and promoted Comey allies to refute Trump's account of events.
The Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey himself to testify Tuesday behind closed doors.
And during the dinner, Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty.
"I actually asked him, yes".
The FBI typically does not confirm their existence.
In a striking reversal one day earlier, Trump told NBC News that he planned to fire Comey even before meeting with top-ranking Justice Department officials and soliciting their recommendations on his performance. He said the discussions happened in two phone calls and at a dinner in which Comey was asking to keep his job.