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Trump says he was always going to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation director

15 May, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Melody Ballard

According to a report in the New York Times, Mr Comey said he would offer the president honesty, but not loyalty. Such a request would undermine the standing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief as an independent law enforcer.

"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

"[James Comey] had a lot of pressure put on and he exonerated her", Trump said Friday in his interview with NBC Nightly News' Lester Holt. Trump told NBC he had planned to fire Comey all along, regardless of whether top Justice Department officials recommended the stunning step.

Trump's comments immediately evoked comparisons to former President Richard Nixon, who secretly taped conversations in the White House during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

The New York Times said Comey told associates he declined to make a pledge of loyalty to Trump when the president requested it while they dined just seven days after his inauguration. One of those phone calls Trump said he initiated and asked if he could inquire as to whether he was under investigation.

In the runup to the inauguration, a senior administration official told Esquire that the transition team was considering evicting the White House press corps from the James Brady briefing room. He said the president wants "loyalty to this country and to the rule of law".

"It's shocking to the conscience".

President Donald Trump has said that it is a "good idea" to abolish daily White House briefing, a viewpoint which has been opposed by the White House Correspondents' Association.

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Since firing Comey, Trump has raged at Democrats and other critics who have blasted him for firing the man who was spearheading an investigation centered around him.

And he dismissed questions on whether Trump was threatening Comey.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testifying in place of Mr Comey at the Senate Intelligence Committee, contradicted Mr Trump's appraisal of turmoil at the FBI, saying that Mr Comey had "broad support" from the rank and file "and still does to this day".

Trump said he had never asked Comey to drop the Russian investigation, nor had anyone from the White House. He had argued that his surrogates can not be expected to "stand at podium with flawless accuracy".

At the beginning, Trump's aides said Comey's firing came at the suggestion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, but by Wednesday the word was that Trump had been considering firing Comey for a long time, and made the final determination after hearing from Sessions and Rosenstein.

Friday morning, in the midst of a series of tweets in which Trump addressed the investigation into Russian collusion with his campaign to influence the presidential election and downplayed any role the probe played in his determination to fire Comey, the president raised the prospect of suspending the briefings.

The FBI and at least two congressional committees are probing allegations of Russian interference into the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign team.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, and is looking at sensitive questions about whether anyone in Mr. Trump's orbit coordinated with Russia.

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