US President Donald Trump on Friday warned fired FBI chief James Comey against leaking their private conversations to the media. “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”, Trump said in a tweet. Comey, who was leading an inquiry into possible collusion between Trump election campaign officials and Russia, was fired on Tuesday. Trump has since insisted he was told by Comey that he was not under investigation, Fox News reported.
The US President said he had been told twice by Comey over dinner and once over the phone that he was not a target of the inquiry. “I had a dinner with him, he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on,” Trump said. “…And I said, ‘I’ll consider we’ll see what happens’… And at that time he told me, ‘You’re not under investigation,’ which I knew anyway,” said Trump. Trump added: “In one case I asked him… He said: ‘You are not under investigation’.”
The US President, speaking to NBC News on Thursday, gave his first in-depth remarks since the surprise ousting of Comey earlier this week. “Look he’s a showboat, he’s a grandstander,” Trump said. “The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil — less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.” Trump said he had planned to fire Comey for some time, but “there’s no good time to do it, by the way.”
The President also said that his surrogates cannot be expected to have “perfect accuracy” in their communications with the press, as he hit out at the “fake media” coverage of his decision to fire Comey. Trump dismissed the FBI investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the US election as a “charade” and has said Democrats are using “fake news” about collusion with the Russians as an excuse for losing the election.
When he fired Comey earlier this week, Trump garnered comparisons to former President Richard Nixon and his infamous decision to remove the special prosecutor investigating Watergate crimes in 1973. The Watergate scandal accelerated drastically when it was revealed Nixon taped conversations in the White House.