Comey furious over Trump team's smear campaign - and he's prepared to respond


In a tweet Friday morning, Trump wrote, "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

When he was asked, "Internally, from the president?"

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday declined to comment on whether any tapes featuring Comey exist or whether the President regularly recorded conversations from the Oval Office.

Democrats have accused the Republican president of trying to dent the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe by firing Comey, and have called for a special counsel to investigate the Russian Federation issue.

CNN said later that Comey is "not anxious about any tapes" Trump may have of their conversations, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The next day, however, Trump said he had been considering firing Comey for a while, and that Rosenstein's memo had sealed the deal.

No White House aide appeared on the Sunday news shows, leaving Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, to defend Trump.

On Thursday night, U.S. media then reported that Comey had not had those conversations though at a dinner arranged by Trump, the President asked Comey numberous times for his "loyalty", while Comey responded that he could only offer his "honesty". Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel or another congressional committee would "absolutely" subpoena the tapes.

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Trump has often bristled at investigations about Russian Federation being carried out by the FBI as well as committees in the House and the Senate - often saying the notion that Russian Federation meddled in United States affairs to tip the presidential election in his favor was a Democratic Party excuse for its November defeat.

"One of things that is so painful to watch as a career prosecutor who loves the Department of Justice", McQuade says, "is I see this constant eroding of public trust in our institutions".

The resulting media chaos reportedly threw the White House into turmoil, as aides and surrogates worked to craft a message around the president's evolving statements to the media.

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.

However, Trump kept Spicer and the communications team in the dark regarding his decision to fire Comey until the last possible moment, according to The Times.

So far 14 people - lawmakers, attorneys and law enforcement officials among them - have emerged as candidates.

- Michael J. Garcia, a former prosecutor and associate judge on New York's highest court.

- Frances Townsend, a former Bush homeland security and counterterrorism adviser. Democrats will also try to use a procedural maneuver to force a vote on legislation calling for an independent commission to investigate Russian election interference, although they're unlikely to prevail. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the choice should be "certainly somebody not of a partisan background, certainly somebody of great experience and certainly somebody of courage".