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Explaining Comey's firing challenges White House advisers

17 Mai 2017

White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility that Donald Trump has recorded his Oval Office conversations, and insisted the president had not threatened his sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

This was contradicted by Mr Trump on Thursday, when he told NBC News he had planned to fire Mr Comey regardless of Mr Rosenstein's recommendation. They've distanced the decision from the FBI probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign, only to later suggest Comey's firing would aid the investigation.

"If there are tapes, the president should turn them over immediately" to congressional investigators", Schumer said, adding: "To destroy them would be a violation of law".

TODD: Let me put up that tweet where the president put the word tapes in quotes.so, we don't know quite what that means. but did - did you think that constituted a threat to Comey?

Unfortunately for the press and the public it intends to serve, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer provided no clarity.

Mr Trump has dismissed the FBI investigation as a "charade" and has said Democrats are using "fake news" about collusion with the Russians as an excuse for losing the election. "And as a outcome, I was not aware of the counterintelligence investigation Director Comey first referred to during his testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence on the 20th of March, and that comports with my public statements".

There were some suggestions that the threat could be tantamount to a criminal act: witness intimidation.

A roller-coast week for the White House ended with more turbulence and questions.

Because: first, Trump does not say there are tapes.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, John, separately, another issue that's come up in all this back and forth that we just heard from Lisa has to do with the White House press briefing, and the president had something interesting to say about that today.

Again, that is a direct contradiction to President Trump's claim that there is no investigation against him.

In his Friday morning tweetstorm, the president also suggested that his administration could do away with briefings for the press, and instead give out written statements.

President Donald Trump threatened Friday to "cancel all future "press briefings", saying it was impossible for his representatives to be perfectly accurate.

The president of the White House Correspondents Association, Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, told MSNBC that his association would object to any move to cancel the press briefings. "Nearly all of them are very well known", Trump said while flying to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he was giving the commencement address at Liberty University. Krishnamoorthi also asked for any recording of Trump's Wednesday meeting with Russian officials, and "any conversations regarding the hiring or firing" former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Explaining Comey's firing challenges White House advisers