MIAMI (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump took to Twitter Friday morning and targeted former FBI director James Comey.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed the tweet briefly during his first press briefing since Comey’s firing on Tuesday.
“I have talked to the President. The president has nothing further to add on that,” said Spicer. “That’s not a threat. He’s simply stating a fact.”
Trump refused to talk about the possibility of recordings during an interview with Fox News Channel.
“That I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about that,” said Trump.
Spicer would neither confirm nor deny that the president has some sort of recording system in the White House.
Following Comey’s firing, the Trump administration has gone on the defense saying the president did it based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“It’s ultimately going to be his decision to hire someone or to fire someone,” said Spicer on Trump’s decision to fire Comey.
But the motive of the firing is under question with speculation over whether Trump may have tried to interfere in an investigation into possibly his or his associate’s ties with Russia.
President Trump claims Comey assured him three times that he was not under investigation, including at a January dinner that he says Comey requested.
“We had a very nice dinner and at that time he told me you are not under investigation,” said Trump.
“Obviously, I don’t know what was actually said at the dinner. I wasn’t there, but I would find that very inconsistent with what I know of Jim Comey,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
He told MSNBC that Comey was uneasy with attending the dinner. Comey told associates the president pushed the director to pledge his loyalty to the president that night. Comey says he refused but promised to be honest. Meantime, Spicer denies that Trump asked Comey during a dinner to pledge his loyalty to the president.
An individual familiar with Comey’s thinking says the former FBI director is not worried about the possible existence of any tapes from his meeting with President Trump.
White house staffers and the president have offered conflicting accounts about why Comey was fired and the timeline leading up to the decision.
On Thursday, the acting Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling their investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign “highly significant.”
Sen. Marco Rubio asked McCabe if Comey’s firing had impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any investigation at the FBI.
“As you know, senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decision. There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date,” McCabe said.
As McCabe testified, President Trump spoke out about his decision to fire Comey – something that was starkly different from what his administration said.
“Oh, I was gonna fire regardless of recommendation,” Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt.
In response to the media coming out and questioning the differences in the responses, President Trump threatened to take away press briefings and defended his administration.
Democrats have argued that everything about Comey’s firing was unorthodox, from the way he was informed to the timing itself.
“The president’s one page letter was completely bizarre,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-VA.
“You can’t fire the investigator when he is investigating your administration,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA.
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein came to Capitol Hill himself to meet with the heads of the Senate committee doing its own investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“So that when we had witnesses that we needed to talk to, we made sure that we weren’t stepping on top of anything that might be an active investigation,” Sen. Richard Burr said.
Lawmakers have asked for a briefing about Comey’s firing from Rosenstein. He has agreed to brief the full Senate next week.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz is calling for the Department of Justice inspector general to look into the firing of Director Comey.
Democrats have found an ally in the Senate’s Republican chairman of the intelligence committee.
“The timing and the reasons for this decision make little sense to me. And I don’t think I’ve heard anything since last night to clarify that in any way,” said Sen. Richard Burr.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia and Sen. Richard Burr have invited Comey to meet with their committee next week in a closed-door session but Comey declined.