Amid chaos, mood grows darker in the White House


Cortney wrote how President Donald Trump took to Twitter to give former FBI Director Comey a warning: Be careful about leaking stuff because I might have tapes.

On Friday morning, as President Trump faced withering scrutiny for his decision to fire the FBI director while his campaign is under FBI investigation, Trump took to Twitter to reiterate the talking point he deploys whenever the topic of his campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation comes up.

Most egregious in this regard was the president's now infamous tweet telling Comey to consider whether "tapes" existed before starting to leak any of the conversations the two had.

"Here's the thing, the difference between me and another president", Trump said.

It's a claim made of Comey that has many experts skeptical. Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who was back behind the podium Friday after Sarah Huckabee Sanders subbed for him for two days, has been the subject of memorable lampoons by comic Melissa McCarthy on "Saturday Night Live".

The White House is keeping a close eye on how firm Republican support for Trump is.

According to CNN's report, Comey was not the one to ask for a dinner meeting with Trump earlier this year, as the president had suggested in a Thursday interview with NBC's Lester Holt.

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"That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts", Comey added.

The White House has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russian Federation probe. His dismissal of a special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who subpoenaed the White House for the president's tapes marked the beginning of the end of his presidency.

"I think overall as far as Jim's stature as a public servant, a consummate public servant in my view, he was tremendous".

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".

US intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign of interference in the election aimed at tilting the vote in Trump's favor.

"The key thing, I think, was what is the trust between the president and a national security adviser?"

Asked if the decision or an announcement could take place before he leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday, Trump said: "Even that is possible".

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For the first time since an Oval Office taping system was removed by President Richard Nixon's chief of staff almost 44 years ago, a president has hinted that White House conversations might again be secretly recorded.

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In the interview, the president admitted to seeking recommendations in order to fire Comey, instead of the other way around as implied in his own letter dismissing Comey.

A source close to Comey tells @NBCNews: "He hopes there are tapes".

Wednesday: "He did have a conversation with the deputy attorney general on Monday where they had come to him to express their concerns".

As to whether the Obama administration bears the blame for Flynn's fall from grace, as Trump has suggested, Clapper said he feels it's a "tad disingenuous" to equate the standard clearance requirements with the internal vetting procedures of a campaign.

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