Trump warns ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation chief not to leak to media, threatens 'tapes'

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Trump administration officials have flatly denied two key allegations surrounding the James Comey firing - that the decision came after he asked for more resources for the FBI's Russian Federation probe, and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later threatened to resign - after the claims gained traction among Trump critics.

Earlier on Friday, Trump sent a series of tweets bashing the media and saying his surrogates shouldn't be expected to speak with "perfect accuracy".

U.S. President Donald Trump has insisted there was "no collusion" between his election campaign and the Russian government.

The tweet marks an extraordinary development in the ongoing feud between Trump and the agencies investigating alleged ties between his campaign and Russian Federation.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported a one-on-one dinner between Mr Comey and Mr Trump shortly after the president came to office, in which he demanded "loyalty" from the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump would "never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty, only loyalty to our country and its great people".

One key question though - if this was indeed the real reason Mr Comey was sacked, why did the White House wait until now?

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Later that month, Trump tweeted about the matter. According to this version, Mr Trump had in recent weeks been "strongly inclined to remove" Mr Comey. "I can't comment on any conversations the director may have had with the president", McCabe said.

Top White House officials such as Vice President Mike Pence and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have insisted Trump acted on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and chose to fire Comey only after he received a letter criticizing Comey's handling of the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Meanwhile, acting FBI Director McCabe told the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, "You can not stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution", when asked about pressure from the White House to shape the investigation.

Meanwhile, some details surrounding the president's firing of Comey have already begun to seep out, though as is so often true it seems to be a case of he said, the other he said.

Echoing a widely held view in opposition ranks, the senior democrat on the Senate committee, John Warner, called the timing of Comey's dismissal "especially troubling". He said he did it because she had recently generated adverse headlines by having a meeting with ex-President Bill Clinton on an airport runway. "The Fake Media is working overtime today!"

That coverage of the Comey story prompted the Friday tweet storm from the president, who also continued to loudly deny that he or his team had anything to do with Russia's hacking Democrats during the 2016 election.

- ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) May 12, 2017The president's suggestion came as he was defending the contradictions between multiple White House explanations for why Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

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