Donald Trump says he won't fire 'bothersome' Robert Mueller

According to one person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Trump raised the possibility of tapes as a strategy to ensure that Comey told the truth, even though Trump now is suggesting that did so because he couldn't be sure there were no recordings made by others.

Comey didn't visit NYT newsroom.

Top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff raises speculations over Trump's false allegations and information over the tapes.

Trump fired Comey over dissatisfaction with how the FBI head was handling the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The memos eventually lead to the appointment of a special counsel. But they largely confirmed the suspicions of outsiders that Trump had been leveling a baseless threat at Comey on May 12, when he wrote, "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" "I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings, "President Trump announced".

The president's tweets on Thursday left open the possibility that the conversations may have been taped without his knowledge. Was he trying to intimidate or silence James Comey?

Asked if it was a "smart" move to try and keep Comey "honest", Trump said: "It wasn't very stupid, I can tell you that".

"If the president had no tapes, why did he suggest otherwise?"

Richard Nixon fought the release of his tapes because he knew that the system had caught him planning and ordering the post-Watergate cover-up that drove him from office.

"That helped feed the media hysteria", said Grassley. "I don't know how this serves the country's interests".

Trump flirted with presidential runs in 1988 and 2000 before abandoning them. And his embrace of birtherism, which questioned whether Obama was born in the United States and was eligible to become president, fueled his own political rise.

The pattern has continued since Trump's election.

"I have been here only five months, people saying, 'Where is the health care?' Well, I have done in five months what other people haven't done in years", Trump added. In March, he tweeted the incendiary claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, a charge he's never supported.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declined to elaborate on Trump's tweets in a briefing with reporters afterward.

A core tension in any inquiry will be Comey's honesty and credibility versus Trump's. Comey said he understood that to be a request to drop the probe.

President Trump accused Special Counsel Robert Mueller of hiring "all Hillary Clinton supporters" to staff the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

  • Salvatore Jensen