Trump threatens to cancel press briefings, unhappy with Comey coverage

WASHINGTON – In a flood of angry tweets Friday morning, President Trump threatened to cancel press briefings as he continues to grapple with the fallout from his abrupt firing of FBI directory James Comey and the conflicting stories he and his aides have told about it.

"As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!" Trump said in a tweet that he followed up in a second missive: "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 another stunning reversal one day earlier, President Trump told NBC News that he planned to fire Comey even before meeting with top-ranking Justice Department officials and soliciting their recommendations on his performance.

"I was going to fire regardless of (their) recommendation," Trump said in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, calling Comey a "showboat" and "grandstander" who led the agency into turmoil.

That contradicted the White House's assertions — and even the widely-disseminated termination letter Trump sent Comey — that the dismissal was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who cited Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton last year.

While that was initially the stated reason the White House gave for Comey's firing up until the NBC interview, Trump's own statements about it raised even more questions about his decision to fire the FBI director who was running an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.

News of firing took many White House officials by surprise, forcing them to scramble to provide explanations that proceeded to change in the hours and days after the news broke.

The coverage of the Comey story prompted the Friday tweet storm from the president, who also continued to loudly deny that he or his team had anything to do with Russia's hacking Democrats during the 2016 election.

While Democrats continue to decry the timing of Comey's firing was a way to short-circuit the ongoing counterintelligence probe, Trump tweeted that is is all politics: "Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election."

The president also again protested news coverage of his White House, saying in another tweet: "The Fake Media is working overtime today!"

In a fifth tweet on Friday, Trump took aim at the former FBI director himself: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Trump says that Comey told him three times he was not personally under investigation over Russia, twice in phone calls and once at a private dinner with the FBI director.

FBI officials have questioned Trump's claims.

Trump has frequently attacked the press during his four months in office, from cracks about "fake media" to threats to change libel laws.

The White House schedule for Friday lists a 1:30 p.m. ET briefing to be conducted by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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