13 May, 2017
White House press secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly refused on Friday to deny that Donald Trump is secretly taping visitors. Asked to clarify whether there were any tapes as Trump suggested, Spicer said he had nothing further to add to the president's tweets.
When asked about that tweet - which reporters characterised as a threat - Mr Spicer largely dodged the question, saying that the tweet speaks for itself.
Asked if Trump recorded conversations with Comey and if there are recording devices in the White House, Spicer did not give yes-or-no answers.
On Thursday, the New York Times published an account of a dinner, sourced to two Comey associates, that differed from the president's account.
The president's advisers said this week that Mr Trump fired Mr Comey on Tuesday in response to a recommendation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
"Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not "reliable" in the conventional political sense".
Trump took to Twitter on Friday to blame his "active" presidency for any inaccuracies that his surrogates make at the podium.
Mr Spicer said he was not aware of any recording of the dinner with Mr Comey.
Also read: Here are the unanswered questions about Trump's "tapes" warning to Comey.
But he later told NBC he was "going to fire him regardless of the recommendation".
The White House Correspondents Association objected to Trump's threat.
Critics have assailed Trump for firing the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief at a time when the agency is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election, and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump presidential campaign. "The president has nothing further to add to that".
Comey will not appear, as previously scheduled, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday.
The White House initially said Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of the top Justice Department officials: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Wyden, who sits on the committee, said the American people were ill-served getting information about the circumstances of Mr. Comey's firing from anonymous news media leaks and Mr. Trump's "practically unhinged" Twitter feed.
Trump says Comey had told him three times he was not under investigation in the Russian Federation probe.
In fact, Trump wants investigators to get to the bottom of Russian involvement in the election, Spicer said, including debunking the "false narrative" that the Trump campaign was somehow involved.
These reasons 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 criticized Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton a year ago.