FBI director James Comey and President Donald Trump. Photo: AFP
tweeted that Mr Comey had "better hope there are no 'tapes' of
our conversations", suggesting such tapes, if they existed,
might contradict him.
Comey, who had been leading an inquiry into possible collusion
between Trump election campaign officials and Russia, was fired on
Trump has insisted Mr Comey told him that he was not under
House press secretary Sean Spicer later said Mr Trump had nothing
more to say on the "tapes" but that the tweet the president
had put out was "not a threat" to Mr Comey.
Trump has said that Mr Comey has told him three times that he was not
a target of the FBI inquiry, comments that have raised accusations
among opponents that the president was interfering in the
Trump also said this week that he alone was responsible for the
decision to sack Mr Comey, calling him a "showboat" and
this appeared to undermine earlier comments from administration
officials that Mr Comey had been fired on the recommendation of
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.
first line of Mr Trump's letter sacking Mr Comey refers to a memo
written by Mr Rosenstein and says: "I have accepted their
he later told NBC he was "going to fire him regardless of the
White House said Mr Comey was fired over his handling of the Hillary
Clinton email affair, but Democrats have asked, if that is the case,
why it took so long.
is also a suggestion Mr Comey had asked for more resources for the
York Times report this week also said that, during a
one-on-one dinner in late January, Mr Trump had asked Mr Comey for a
pledge of loyalty but it was not forthcoming.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told MSNBC on Friday
he had spoken to Mr Comey before the dinner, and the FBI head had
said he was "uneasy" about it as it might compromise his
Spicer later said that the president had not asked for a pledge of
angered by criticism of the different accounts of the sacking, Mr
Trump used another of his tweets on Friday to say: "As a very
active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible
for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!"
added: "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future
'press briefings' and hand out written responses for the sake of
Spicer said the president was a "little dismayed" that the
attempts of his press team to give out information were being turned
into a "game of gotcha" by the media.
was unclear whether Mr Trump's reference to "tapes"
suggested there might be secret recordings of conversations that
could be used to challenge any statements by Mr Comey, or whether it
was simply a way of warding him off from commenting.
Spicer said he was not aware of any recording of the dinner with Mr
reference to tapes has done nothing to silence the echoes of the
Watergate affair that have resounded around the Russian interference
1973, President Richard Nixon sacked Archibald Cox, the Watergate
special prosecutor who was seeking access to tapes of presidential
conversations that ultimately led to Mr Nixon's resignation.
cited an unnamed source as saying Mr Comey was "not worried
about any tapes" Mr Trump may have of their conversations.
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.
Comey's successor, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, said on
Thursday that it remained "a highly significant investigation".
testimony to the Senate intelligence committee, he also cast doubt on
White House claims that Mr Comey had lost the confidence of his
can confidently tell you that the vast majority of employees enjoyed
a deep and positive connection to Director Comey," Mr McCabe