Friday, 15 December, 2017

Trump threatens Comey: 'Better hope' there are no tapes of our conversations

Trump threatens Comey: 'Better hope' there are no tapes of our conversations Trump threatens Comey: 'Better hope' there are no tapes of our conversations
Roland Mccarthy | 19 May, 2017, 00:15

Trump, in an NBC interview Thursday, said that he had been intending to fire Comey - whom he derided as a "showboat" and "grandstander" - for months and that it had nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation.

James Comey has begun to answer back to Donald Trump's slams on his reputation, and the former FBI Director has let it be known that he will only testify in front of Congress if it's a public hearing. Comey has not explicitly denied the account. But he also said, "In fact when I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won".

Democrats quickly seized on the dispute, demanding the White House turn over any tapes that might exist of the president's conversations with Comey.

Trump's statements, through a tweet and later television interview, threaten a Washington institution that is the most high-profile forum for journalists to question the government about policy and the news of the day.

The president's morning Twitter comments again raised the specter of Richard Nixon, who secretly taped conversations and telephone calls in the White House during the Watergate investigation that ultimately led to his downfall.

That 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 cited Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton a year ago.

Even before Trump's provocative tweet, the White House was scrambling to clarify why Comey was sacked.

Clapper also told MSNBC that he didn't know if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, contradicting the president's assertion that the former director had cleared him of wrongdoing. Not even Vice President Mike Pence was spared the embarrassment of having told a version of events that was later discredited by Trump.

"That is not accurate, " McCabe said.

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Friday that Comey was uneasy about attending the dinner due to the "appearance of compromising the independence of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which is a hallowed tenet in our system".

"This is actually a reversal of the worst fears any president ever had about Director Hoover", said Gomez, referring to former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's practice of gathering compromising material on foes to keep them in line.

McCabe also pointed out the remarkable nature of Trump's version of his conversations with Comey.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if it's illegal or not".

Trump and Comey's relationship was strained early on, in part because of the president's explosive and unsubstantiated claims that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

"Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein's office has confirmed to Senator Schumer's office that Mr. Rosenstein will come to brief the full Senate next week", Schumer spokesman Matt House said in a statement.

Trump said in April he wouldn't fire Spicer because "that guy gets great ratings".

That's far different that the White House's initial account in the hours after Comey's firing. Multiple officials, including Pence, said the president was acting at the behest of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"If you ever wanted to write a dialogue or a plan for how to piss off an agency, that's the way to do it", said David Rubincam, a retired FBI agent who spent more than 20 years in bureau postings in the United States and overseas.

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