Inside the White House: Comey Damage Control And No Easy Way Out

17 May, 2017, 02:05 | Author: Essie Rivera

In the aftermath of Comey's dismissal, Cornyn said Trump was "within his authority" to fire him and said it would not affect the investigation of possible Russian ties to Trump's presidential campaign.

The resulting media chaos reportedly threw the White House into turmoil, as aides and surrogates worked to craft a message around the president's evolving statements to the media.

Rosenstein wrote a memorandum - faulting Comey's handling of a probe of Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails previous year - that the White House released on May 9 to justify Comey's firing. Still, Priebus was among the tight circle of staffers Trump consulted about Comey's firing.

Trump says in the Oval Office that the administration is working to quickly find a successor to Comey.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions and Rosenstein are involved in the interviews because the Federal Bureau of Investigation director reports to them as attorney general and deputy attorney general.

Trump also hit back on Friday at media reports questioning the credibility of White House accounts of why Comey was sacked, which have changed over the course of the week, and threatened an end to regular White House press briefings. His name was floated as a possible replacement for then-FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2013, and he received support from an association of FBI agents before President Barack Obama chose Comey.

Trump says Comey had told him three times he was not under investigation in the Russian Federation probe. A CNN national security commentator, Rogers represented Michigan's 8th congressional district in the House from 2001 to 2015. "That was a DOJ decision".

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Two White House officials said some of Trump's frustration centres on what he views as unfair coverage of his decisions and overly harsh criticism of press secretary Sean Spicer, as well as deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, who led much of the response to Comey's firing.

The search for Comey's successor will begin in earnest on Saturday, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plan to interview four candidates for a nominee that Trump will send to the Senate. Fearful that his own team would leak the decision, Trump kept key staff in the dark as he pondered the dramatic move. "I'm not sure he knows the answer to that yet". It has been reported, too, that Trump sought repeated oaths of loyalty from Comey, despite the fact that his role is supposed to be independent and non-partisan. "Very simple. He wasn't doing a good job".

In a tweet, Mr Trump appeared to issue a thinly veiled threat to Mr Comey, saying he had "better hope there are no tapes" of their conversations.

The timeline directly contradicted the White House's assertion that the president had acted exclusively based on the recommendations of Rosenstein and Sessions.

On Thursday, Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt during an interview that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the DOJ's recommendations. Schiller was among those Trump consulted about Comey and was tapped by the president to deliver a letter informing the director of his firing.

"You'd made the decision before they came into the room?"

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