Soon after tweeting the threat to Comey, Trump invoked former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who testified before the Senate earlier this week that he was not aware of any evidence demonstrating collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
“When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” Trump tweeted.
Clapper, however, qualified his remarks by saying he had been unaware of an FBI investigation into the matter until Comey announced it to the public at a House hearing in March. And it’s unclear how much Clapper would know about developments in the investigation after he left office earlier this year.
John Dean, a former White House counsel under Nixon who served four months in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal, said it would be Trump, not Comey, with the most to lose were recordings of the two men to surface.
Trump’s reasoning behind firing Comey
But mounting evidence suggests Comey was actually fired because of the Russia probe.
1. Comey never provided the President with any assurance of personal loyalty.
2. The FBI’s investigation into possible Trump team collusion with Russia in the 2016 election was accelerating.
On Thursday, Trump, discussing the firing of Comey, told NBC News that he was frustrated by the ongoing investigation and believed it was motivated by Democrats’ fury at losing the election.
Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt: “And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”
Comey has not yet responded to the Senate intelligence committee’s invitation to testify in closed session next week, Democratic and Republican spokespersons for the committee told CNN Friday.
Trump threatens press
“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 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???”
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders faced backlash from the press Thursday during her briefing after her comments on the Comey timeline conflicted with Trump’s remarks to NBC.
CNN’s Mary Kay Mallonee contributed to this report.