US President Donald Trump's shifting reasons for sacking Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey

Frederick Owens
May 19, 2017

Donald Trump warned ousted FBI Director James Comey on Friday not to talk to the media, a highly unusual move that prompted fresh charges the president is trying to silence the man who led an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's election campaign and Russian Federation.

Comey refused to do so, saying he could not provide such a pledge - those who work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation pledge their loyalty to the US Constitution, not to any individual person - but he promised to always be honest with the President. When Trump then pressed for "honest loyalty", Comey told him, "You will have that", the associates said.

Trump confidants say Bannon has been marginalized on major decisions, including Comey's firing, after clashing with Kushner.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing that Trump did not demand Comey's loyalty.

"I expect nothing short of someone beyond reproach and (it) will be exactly what the country needs", said Warner, a Trump delegate at last year's party convention. "Congressional investigators should certainly subpoena Trump-Comey tapes".

Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, later saying that "he wasn't doing a good job".

The White House has already started having conversations with some of the candidates but, "the list is fluid and could change", the officials told ABC News on Friday. He's one of at least five people expected to interview for the post with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, on Saturday.

Before he was sacked on Tuesday, Comey acknowledged the FBI was investigating possible ties between Team Trump and Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election.

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The series of tweets come as the White House scrambles to deny that it intentionally misled Americans over the series of events that led to Comey's termination on Tuesday.

Currently, the White House holds daily news briefings conducted by the White House press secretary or deputy press secretary.

McCabe also pointed out the remarkable nature of Trump's version of his conversations with Comey. Chief strategist Steve Bannon learned on television, according to three White House officials, though a person close to Bannon disputed that characterization.

Trump's advisers have repeatedly tried to downplay the Russia-election matter, with Sanders saying Wednesday the FBI was "doing a whole lot more than the Russian Federation investigation". Particularly eyebrow-raising was Trump's assertion that he had received three separate assurances from the FBI director that he is not now under investigation by the bureau. Can we assume that, if Trump thought he was a subject of Comey's investigation, Trump would have fired Comey on the spot? The ambassador was also not mentioned in the official White House account of the meeting. He denies it had anything to do with the Russian Federation investigation, but also says: "In fact when I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story".

May 9, 2017: Trump abruptly fires Comey.

Mr. President, if there are "tapes" relevant to the Comey firing, it's because you made them and they should be provided to Congress.

The White House said Trump is weighing options for replacing Comey, a decision that could have broad implications for the future of the Russian Federation investigation. He promised he would tolerate no interference from the White House and would not provide the administration with updates on its progress.

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