During a hearing on Thursday, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Comey was held in high regard in the organization, despite White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying during a press briefing on Wednesday that "the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director".
"White House briefings and press conferences provide substantive and symbolic opportunities for journalists to pose questions to officials at the highest levels of the USA government", WHCA President Jeff Mason said in a statement. In an interview on Thursday, he insisted he always meant to fire the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, undercutting the initial explanation that he acted on the recommendation of top officials who criticised Comey's handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton's emails.
Critics have assailed Trump for leaving the fate of the FBI's probe into alleged election meddling by Russian Federation highly uncertain and even accused him of intentionally seeking to jeopardize it.
In the tweet, Trump also warned Comey about leaking to the press: "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
Trump has also strongly refuted the allegations that there was any collusion between him or his campaign with the Russians.
Even if the congressional and law enforcement investigations into the Trump campaign fail to yield any hard evidence of collusion, the president may have just undone himself with his threatening tweet.
While the FBI awaits the appointment of a new director to help guide its investigations, including an examination of possible Moscow-induced meddling and hacking, Trump has dabbled in matters of hacking prevention.
Ricky Stenhouse. Jr. didn't brag to girlfriend Danica Patrick about Talladega win
He did it for a Roush team that was once the pride of the Ford camp but has been on a decline for years. Prior to this year, he had just seven top-five finishes and led just 44 career laps.
Peoria Republican Rep. Darin LaHood said he was surprised by Comey's firing and that he has admired him for his "integrity, judgment and independence", but he added that he wanted to know more about the president's rationale for the dismissal. But critics will question whether Trump is perhaps implying that he recorded his conversations with Comey.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Trump pressed Comey for a pledge of loyalty over dinner only a week after his inauguration, according to an account by two associates of the lawman.
In a poll conducted in mid-April, Republicans were much less in favor of such a firing, while Democrats were slightly more supportive than they are now. Briefly during the presidential transition, Trump aides had discussed moving press out of the briefing room. "I mean it depends on how you define loyalty".
Nonetheless, the White House has continued to use Clapper's Meet the Press remark as a talking point even after his clarification.
In a striking reversal one day earlier, Trump told NBC News that he planned to fire Comey even before meeting with top-ranking Justice Department officials and soliciting their recommendations on his performance.
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.
"It's always the president's decision", Spicer said. The president took to Twitter Friday morning to issue a threat to Comey that erratically referenced "tapes" of their conversations that may or may not exist. Mr Comey found out about the dismissal through the media.
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