With 'tapes' tweet, Trump evokes Nixon's White House

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Rosenstein was upset with suggestions made by the White House that his memo suggested he called for Comey's firing Tuesday, according to The Washington Post and ABC News. McMaster declined to answer a question about the Comey firing, posed by Haley Jackson of NBC News, leaving that line of inquiry to Spicer.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spoke to reporters Friday during the White House daily press briefing.

"It's good to be back with you", Spicer said before introducing Gen. H.R. McMaster, who gave an overview of the president's upcoming trip to the Middle East and Europe.

Spicer also said Trump's tweet this morning was not meant as a threat to Comey not to speak to the media.

But it quickly became clear that the president had been stewing for days over the Russian Federation investigation and Comey's refusal to defend him in appearances before lawmakers.

"I think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law", he said. They can make recommendations, but the president will ultimately make the hiring decision.

The shifting accounts of the decision to fire Comey, whom Trump derided as a "showboat" and "grandstander", added to a mounting sense of uncertainty and chaos in the West Wing, as aides scrambled to get their stories straight and appease an angry president. All we know is that based on the reporting over the past two days, it is apparent that after that January dinner-when Comey apparently declined to pledge his loyalty to Trump-both Trump and Comey believed that it was only a matter of time before the President fired Comey.

CNN's Jake Tapper confirmed The Times' reporting on Friday, with a source close to Comey saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation director was "taken aback" by Trump's question.

Trump revealed to Holt that he had been planning to fire Comey even before he received Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's recommendation to do so. He said in an interview on Thursday with NBC News that Comey gave him this assurance during a dinner and in two phone conversations.

Trump and Comey's relationship was strained early on, in part because of the president's explosive and unsubstantiated claims that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

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After four months in office, President Donald Trump has become distrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime aides, and furious that the White House's attempts to quell the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russian Federation investigations only seem to add more fuel.

The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Richard Durbin, slammed the president after Friday's tweets, telling MSNBC that the president is "dangerous because he may be obstructing justice in terms of the investigation. and secondly his credibility has been destroyed".

In a statement, Durbin said that what he characterized as Trump's admission that he fired Comey because of the Russian Federation probe was "dangerously close to obstruction of justice".

Interviews with additional individuals are expected Sunday, if they can be arranged, a senior White House official said.

CNN also reports that Trump asked if Comey to pledge "honest loyalty".

"In fact when I made a decision to just do it, I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won", he said.

Carter Page, once a Trump foreign-policy adviser, is also among the persons of interest, as is former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

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. Moscow has denied any such meddling.

Describing himself as a "very active president", Trump said it was becoming very hard for his surrogates to explain things with flawless accuracy to reporters at the news conferences.

"Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"

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