Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Inside the White House: Comey Damage Control And No Easy Way Out

"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press", the President tweeted.

May 16, 2017: A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Comey wrote in a memo after a January 27 dinner with the president that Trump had asked him to shut down the FBI investigation into Flynn. Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe also interviewed for the permanent post despite his repeated willingness to break from White House explanations of Comey's ouster and its characterizations of the Russian Federation investigation.

The White House Correspondents' Association was quick to respond, condemning the proposal and stressing the importance of press briefings.

At the beginning, Trump's aides said Comey's firing came at the suggestion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, but by Wednesday the word was that Trump had been considering firing Comey for a long time, and made the final determination after hearing from Sessions and Rosenstein.

"Exactly", said Clapper. "I think the Founding Fathers, in their genius, created a system of three coequal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances".

More than a lack of momentum on major policy goals, Trump is said to be seething over the flood of leaks pouring out of the White House and into news reports.

One contender who could prove politically palatable is Michael Garcia, a former USA attorney in Manhattan with significant experience in terrorism and public corruption investigations. When Trump then pressed for "honest loyalty", Comey told him, "You will have that", recounted the Comey associate.

Democrats are demanding appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and ties to Trump's campaign, and have discussed trying to slow down the confirmation process or other business of the Senate as a way of drawing attention to the demand.

In a series of tweets, Mr Trump threatened Mr Comey and also warned that he may cancel all White House press briefings.

In the afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly refused to say definitively whether recording devices had been placed in the White House, and he tried to downplay the notion that the president threatened the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director. "He keeps a very robust schedule", Spicer said.

US President Donald Trump looks towards First Lady Melania Trump at a "celebration of military mothers" event at the White House.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and the panel's top Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, on Friday requested follow-up briefings from Rosenstein and McCabe about the investigation into Russian election meddling. About one-third said they didn't know enough to have an opinion. But that's not even all of it, since Sergei Kislyak's contact with former national security advisor Michael Flynn was what forced Flynn to resign. And while he had no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump team, Graham said, "the president needs to back off and let the investigation go forward".

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