President Trump Cites 'Made Up' Russia Story in Interview on Comey Firing

After Comey's dismissal, it's time for a commission

After Comey's dismissal, it's time for a commission

In the NBC interview on Thursday, Mr Trump said he would have fired Mr Comey regardless of any such recommendations. Word from the president's high command at the Justice Department that Comey was requesting more resources for his widening investigation into growing evidence of contacts and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer today repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility that Donald Trump has recorded his Oval Office conversations, and insisted the president had not threatened his sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation director. But Trump on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that the Russian Federation investigation - which he dismissed as a "made-up story" - was also on his mind as he ousted the man overseeing the probe.

"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press" Trump threatened on Twitter.

In a statement, Mr Durbin said that what he characterized as Mr Trump's admission that he fired Mr Comey because of the Russian Federation probe was "dangerously close to obstruction of justice". Diverging reports from the Comey and Trump camps have emerged this week about their private conversations, such as whether or not Trump asked for Comey's loyalty to him.

"I've talked to the president" about that tweet, Spicer said.

Spicer's comments came as a response to Trump's eye-opening tweet from earlier Friday, which appeared to serve as a threat to Comey.

Flynn was sacked in February by Trump after it emerged that he had misled White House officials about his interactions with Russian officials, including Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Trump also said that at the dinner, he and Comey discussed whether the United States top cop would stay in his role and continue his 10-year term.

"As a very active president with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with flawless accuracy" Trump said.

Trump then went on to suggest scrapping the traditional White House briefings that have existed in some form since the Woodrow Wilson administration nearly a century ago.

A day earlier, a White House spokesman had downplayed the importance of the probe, which is being conducted concurrently with the Senate committee's investigation and that of two other congressional panels. But Trump shattered that explanation himself on Thursday when he said he had always meant to fire Comey and that his decision was linked to the ongoing investigation into his campaign's ties with Russian Federation.

He refused to comment on what Comey did or didn't say, but when asked whether it would be common for an FBI director to notify someone they were not the target of an investigation, said "I'm not aware of that being a standard practice". Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Republican Senator John Cornyn, New York Appeals Court Judge Michael Garcia and former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher will be interviewed on Saturday for the post, an administration official said. Moscow has denied any such meddling.

The White House initially cited a Justice Department memo criticizing Comey's handling of last year's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails as the impetus for Trump's decision.

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