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.
Trump also hit back on Friday at media reports questioning the credibility of White House accounts of why Comey was sacked, which have changed over the course of the week, and threatened an end to regular White House news briefings. When Trump then pressed for "honest loyalty", Comey told him, "You will have that", the associates said.
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.
The FBI concluded that no criminal charges were warranted, but Comey said she and her colleagues had been "careless" with classified information.
White House officials had hoped last week's House vote would give the president a much-needed burst of momentum and infuse new energy into efforts to fully overhaul the "Obamacare" health law and pass a massive tax reform package. Comey found the allegations confounding, according to his associate, and wondered what to make of what he described as odd thoughts coming from his new boss. He said that while he received a scathing assessment of Comey's performance from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday, that memo was not a catalyst for his dramatic decision as the White House had said earlier. In the NBC interview Thursday, Trump said he would have fired Comey regardless of any such recommendations.
It's reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions began interviewing candidates for the role on Saturday.
Once Comey made the announcement about the Clinton investigation, his "basic misjudgment boxed him in, compelling him to take increasingly controversial actions giving the impression that the FBI was enmeshed in politics".More news: Dallas Stars sign goalie Ben Bishop to 6-year, $29.5M deal
The White House has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russian Federation probe.
"When I did this now I said, 'I probably, maybe will confuse people, maybe I'll expand that, you know, lengthen the time, ' because it should be over with, in my opinion, should have been over with a long time ago, 'cause all it is, is an excuse", he said.
Trump's administration - embroiled in a deepening crisis over the sacking and its shifting explanation of events - will interview the first four candidates for the post on Saturday, US media reported.
White House officials and others insisted on anonymity in order to disclose private conversations and internal deliberations.
These reasons contradicted the White House's assertions - and even the widely-disseminated termination letter Trump sent Comey - that the dismissal was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who criticized Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton past year. Some senior officials have discussed nominating Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who ran the House committee that investigated Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's actions in connection with the 2012 attack on a USA compound in Benghazi, Libya.
"You can not stop the men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from doing the right thing", he declared.