Sean Spicer Rebuts Report that Trump Asked Comey to Pledge His Loyalty
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 22, 2017,
May 22, 2017, 8:36
"I didn't ask that question", the president said in an interview with Fox News' Jeanine Pirro that aired Saturday night.
"They didn't like him, they wanted him fired, or whatever, and then all of a sudden they come up with all these glowing reports".
The BBC's Laura Bicker in Washington says Mr Trump was referring to a private White House dinner in January during which the president claims Mr Comey assured him he was not being investigated over alleged links to Russian Federation.
"It's beyond being a hypocrite".
Then she said that Comey's removal would hasten the investigation and the White House decision was shaped by it.
Mr Trump's behaviour has provoked fresh comparisons between his administration and that of disgraced President Richard Nixon, who famously recorded conversations, speeding his downfall during the Watergate scandal.
The president seemed to be responding to news stories coming out since the Tuesday firing, which have contradicted the White House's version of the events.
The White House denied that Trump asked for Comey's loyalty.
Trump's statements, through a tweet and later television interview, threaten a Washington institution that is the most high-profile forum for journalists to question the government about policy and the news of the day. "I say to all of my colleagues in the Senate, history is watching".
The White House initially said Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of the two top officials at the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump said. "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"
That led Trump to tweet Friday morning, "As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with ideal accuracy".
Politicians from both parties reprimanded Mr Trump's actions last week, which included shifting explanations from the White House for Mr Comey's dismissal and an ominous tweet by Mr Trump that warned Mr Comey against leaks to the press because he may have "tapes" of their conversations.
Donald Trump's press wing, under his Press Secretary Sean Spicer has come under wide criticism because of its inaccurate briefings and the harsh language used by its spokespersons.
The president said the current investigations happening in Congress were sufficient as they were being conducted by "very ethical, very smart" people. In the NBC interview on Thursday, Trump said he would have fired Comey regardless of any such recommendations.
Indeed, Rosenstein has privately vowed to lawmakers and staff that he plans to allow the bureau's investigation to move forward, uninhibited by pressures from the White House.
USA intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign of interference in the election aimed at tilting the vote in Trump's favor.
"This is not going to end well for this administration", the former official said.
As part of the Russian Federation investigation, the Justice Department last month requested former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's banking records, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.