The President didn't attend in person, but Trump recorded a five-minute video message that was played for numerous Republican National Committee's 168 members and their guests Friday.
As the chief law enforcement officers of our respective states, we view the President's firing of FBI Director James Comey in the middle of his investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election as a violation of the public trust. Such a request would undermine the standing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief as an independent law enforcer and further fueled charges that Trump has overstepped the norms of his office.
Spicer also addressed Trump's tweet that Friday morning that said, "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, said on Twitter: "Presidents are supposed to have stopped routinely taping visitors without their knowledge when Nixon's taping system was revealed in 1973". "I will have group conference calls with multiple witnesses", Watts said. "I was going to fire regardless of (their) recommendation", Trump said in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, calling Comey a "showboat" and "grandstander" who led the agency into turmoil. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel or another committee would "absolutely" subpoena the tapes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation probe and parallel congressional investigations have cast a cloud over Trump's presidency since he took office on January 20, threatening to overwhelm his policy priorities.
The letter also sought "all documents, memoranda, analyses, emails, and other communications relating to the President decision to dismiss Director Comey".
Trump said in an interview this week that he and Comey had dinner a week after his inauguration, and the president described the conversation as Comey asking him to keep him in his job.
"Was he fired?" Lavrov asked reporters, sarcastically.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined comment.
Venezuelan students lead new protests
This now marks five weeks of sustained protests against Maduro, whom opponents decry as a dictator who has ruined the economy. People have waited in long queues to buy basic supplies while restaurants in cities like Valencia remain closed.
Trump denied that account in a Fox News interview on Friday. Capping a week in which Trump faced a slew of criticism for firing the man investigating his campaign's possible ties to Russia, Trump warned James Comey there could be retribution if he speaks to the press about their private conversations.
"Given the events of this week and particularly after what the President said this afternoon, a briefing from these two officials before the whole Senate, where Senators from both parties can ask and get answers to the serious questions hanging over us, is imperative for this body and for the American people".
Comey will not appear, as previously scheduled, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday. And at this point, FBI officials are confident that the investigation is moving ahead, despite Comey's abrupt firing earlier this week.
"Under normal circumstances, we would not consider credible any claims that the White House may have taped conversations of meetings with the President", they wrote. Comey instead told Trump he could count on his honesty, the Times said. Comey, even if he were inclined to, couldn't say: "'You're cleared'". He had argued that his surrogates can not be expected to "stand at podium with flawless accuracy". Trump tweeted. "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"
The White House has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russian Federation probe.
Comey's ouster Tuesday, while his FBI led an investigation into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, raises the potential that a man long defined by his independent streak, willingness to buck protocol and even a flair for the dramatic could resurface to publicly rebut White House efforts to smear his reputation.
"I think that there are times when you more [often] than not read a story where someone's trying to pull apart one word, one sentence, and say "aha" and make it a "got you" thing", he said.
The White House Correspondents Association objected to Trump's threat.
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