President Trump tweeted a veiled threat Friday toward former FBI Director James B. Comey over possible tapes of their conversations.
“James Comey better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter.
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Asked later Friday if the president had recorded any conversations with Mr. Comey, White House press secretary Sean Spicer replied, “I’ve talked to the president. The president has nothing further to add on that.”
Asked if the White House uses a recording system, Mr. Spicer said, “There is nothing further to add on that.”
The press secretary said the president’s tweet was “not a threat. He simply stated a fact.”
The president also reacted to claims that he undermined his staff by threatening to cancel future “press briefings,” he said in a series of tweets Friday.
Mr. Trump responded to claims that he contradicted the narrative that his staff, including Vice President Mike Pence, gave on the reason Mr. Comey was fired.
“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at a podium with perfect accuracy!….” Mr. Trump tweeted. “… Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”
White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason, a reporter for Reuters, said the the group would object to any move to cancel White House press briefings.
“Having regular press briefings is key to giving journalists the ability to do their jobs,” Mr. Mason said on MSNBC. “It is also key to allowing there to be transparency at the highest levels of government, whether that’s the president of the United States or the people who work for him.”
The president’s staff said earlier in the week that Mr. Comey was fired on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after a performance review. But in an interview with NBC News Thursday, Mr. Trump said he had always planned to fire Mr. Comey.
Mr. Trump also tweeted that the idea that his campaign colluded with the Russians was “fabricated by Dems” as an excuse for losing the presidential election. Mr. Trump also knocked the media tweeting, “The Fake Media is working overtime today!”
• Dave Boyer contributed to this article.
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