Trump's tweet was formal response to request for Comey records: White House

But the tweet alone set off a series of events resulting in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's announcing his decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russian Federation investigation, and the House Intelligence Committee's issuing a bipartisan request demanding the White House hand over any recordings that could be pertinent to its own investigation.

That left open the possibility that recordings were made without his knowledge or by someone else.

That claim quickly raised concerns that Mr Trump, like some past United States presidents, was secretly recording all of his conversations in the White House.

Trump fired Comey in May after he refused to end the FBI investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the results.

By about a 2-to-1 margin, the respondents said they are more likely to trust Comey's account, which he laid out in detail in Senate testimony earlier this month. "My story didn't change".

Instead, they're claiming that thanks to Trump's tweet suggesting tapes of his conversations with Comey existed, the president Jedi mind-tricked the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director into telling the truth during his testimony.

Trump advocate Newt Gingrich urged the president to "rethink" Mr Mueller's position, saying: "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair".

"He's very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome", Mr Trump told Fox News.

Mr Mueller was appointed by the US Department of Justice shortly after Mr Comey's termination.

On May 10, Senate Intelligence Committee leaders invited Comey to testify about the circumstances of his firing - making headlines on cable news, which the President follows closely.

"James B. Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!". Investigators will also weigh Comey's credibility against the president's.

Trump fired Comey on May 9, and Team Trump said at first it was because he had bungled the probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

"There's been no collusion, no obstruction and virtually everybody agrees to that", Mr Trump told Fox, adding that Mr Mueller "is an honourable man and hopefully he'll come up with an honourable solution".

White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that she didn't think Trump regretted the initial tweet.

On New Year's Eve, he claimed he knew "things that other people don't know" about foreign hacking of last year's election, and that the information would be revealed "on Tuesday or Wednesday".

  • Larry Hoffman