During a series of tweets on Friday morning, President Donald Trump warned fired FBI Director James Comey that he “better hope” there are no “tapes” of their conversations together if he decides to talk to the press.
“James Comey better hope that there are no tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” Trump tweeted.
When Sean Spicer was asked if the President does record conversations in the White House or if he really recorded his meetings with Comey, Spicer refused to answer.
Moments after Trump’s Comey “threat,” Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois told Morning Joe that this is one of Trump’s “fantasies,” like the wiretapping claim. The Democrat called Trump “dangerous” and suggested that he is “obstructing justice” by tweeting about the investigation of Russia’s possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
In his termination letter to Comey on Tuesday, Trump wrote that he “greatly” appreciated Comey telling him “on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.” It wasn’t immediately clear what meetings Trump was referring to and the White House wouldn’t comment at first.
But during his interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Thursday, Trump confirmed that he really did talk with Comey on three separate occasions to discuss the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. They spoke twice over the phone and once over dinner.
“I actually asked him,” Trump told Holt. “I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, ‘You are not under investigation.’ I know I’m not under investigation.”
This is considered highly unusual, for someone to directly ask the FBI if they are under investigation and raises ethical questions.
“It would have been certainly more appropriate for the president to channel that question through his lawyer, the White House counsel, who has regular contacts with the Department of Justice and would have known what the policies are regarding sensitive communications like that,” Amy Jeffress, who worked at the Justice Department under the Obama Administration, told NPR.
The New York Times previously reported on Trump’s dinner with Comey on January 27. The Times, citing an associate of Comey’s, reports that Trump asked him to take a pledge of loyalty, but Comey refused. Instead he said he would always be honest with the president. The White House claimed that this isn’t how the dinner went down. Trump also told NBC that the topic of loyalty didn’t come up during their dinner.
“We don’t believe this to be an accurate account,” Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Times. “The integrity of our law enforcement agencies and their leadership is of the utmost importance to President Trump. He would never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty, only loyalty to our country and its great people.”
It’s believed that this is the only time Trump and Comey had dinner together.