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15 May 2017, 12:08 | Ignacio Ramos
Trump threatens to cancel briefings for 'sake of accuracy'
Donald Trumpsaid he expects to make a "fast decision" on a replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey, perhaps before he departs the USA on May 19 for his first foreign trip as president.
Asked about his suggestion in a tweet earlier on Friday that there might be recordings of his conversations with Comey, Trump said: "That I can't talk about".
Trump's tweetstorm railed against the "fake media" and those who expect his surrogates to defend him with "perfect accuracy", while giving a stern warning to Comey that he "better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
A New 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. Comey declined to make that promise but told the president he could count on his honesty, the paper said.
The night Mr Trump fired Mr Comey, the White House said the president acted based on advice from Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.
"Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"
In an interview on Thursday with NBC News, the president said Comey gave him this assurance during a dinner and in two phone conversations. Fearful that his own team would leak the decision, Trump kept key staff in the dark as he pondered the dramatic move. "I won't talk about that", Trump told Fox News Channel's Jeanine Pirro in a taped interview set to air Saturday.
This talking point - that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said there was "no evidence" of Trump campaign-Russia collusion - was debunked during a Senate hearing on Monday featuring testimony from Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. "It's impossible for a person, or two people, or three people, who are press people, to cover every aspect of what I'm thinking and what I'm doing", said Trump.
Trump says Comey had told him three times he was not under investigation in the Russian Federation probe.
The White House initially cited a Justice Department memo criticizing Comey's handling of last year's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails as the impetus for Trump's decision.
Later, the president and his advisers said Mr Trump had planned to fire Mr Comey since taking office.
Trump fired Comey on Wednesday, setting off a slew of speculation and leaks over why the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director - who had been disliked on both sides of the aisle - was sacked.
These results further enforce just how polarized the nation has become, even with an extremely unorthodox presidency and administration that is now under investigation for possible ties with foreign actors, has repeatedly challenged ethics rules, and misled the public.
The White House Correspondents' Association was quick to respond, condemning the proposal and stressing the importance of press briefings. That night, Press Secretary Sean Spicer also told reporters: "It was all him", meaning Mr Rosenstein.
Drawing parallels to what was widely viewed as a long-shot bid by Mr Trump for the presidency, he urged the more than 18,000 graduates to fight for what they believe in and to "challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures".
However, because of the many false statements made by White House officials this week, we are compelled to ask whether any such recordings do in fact exist.
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