Trump on Asking for Comey's Loyalty: 'I Didn't'
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 23:15
At a one-on-one dinner at the White House in January, Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president and Comey declined, instead offering to be honest with him, according the person, who requested anonymity to discuss private conservations. Lester Holt joins TODAY live for the report.
Trump's top spokesman refused to comment on whether listening devices are active in the Oval Office or elsewhere, a non-denial that recalled the secretly taped conversations and telephone calls that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon's downfall in the Watergate scandal.
"I'm not saying it any way", Trump said.
"Here's the thing, the difference between me and another president", Trump said.
"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press", quoth our leader.
That 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 cited Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton a year ago.
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".
Comey was leading the FBI investigation into potential collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian government agents who sought to manipulate the outcome of the US presidential election. Meanwhile, the press has flushed out the fact the Comey did not seek a dinner at the White House to keep his job, rather Trump summoned him, and insisted on their meeting, notwithstanding the fact Comey did not want the meeting.
Press coverage had caused Trump to try to recast the Comey firing, but as he undoubtedly knows now, he was too candid, he claimed he did it with the intent to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation. After Mike Pence replaced Christie as the head of the Trump transition effort toward the end of 2016, Flynn - by then one of Trump's closest advisers - assumed control of national security issues.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds his daily briefing at the White House in Washington on May 3. Based on my conversations with many print reporters and television producers, I know they fully appreciate that Donald Trump's presidency is a threat to our democracy.
The interview was broadcast shortly after the acting director of the FBI flatly contradicted the White House's claims that Mr Comey had lost the support of his bureau before being fired on Tuesday. It initially cited a Justice Department memo criticizing Comey's handling of last year's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails as the impetus, only to have that version undercut by Trump himself.
"We don't have press conferences", Trump said.
Trump's tweet seems to stem from his frustration over the fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier this week. Trump, who called several senators, gave this as the reason for his actions.
Kellyanne Conway in CNN interview with Anderson Cooper: "It makes complete sense because he has lost confidence in the Federal Bureau of Investigation director and he took the recommendation of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, to whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation director reports to". It raised important questions and issues, but they were quickly covered by The New York Times.