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Trump Taunts Comey Over 'Tapes' of Their Conversations

Trump's tweetstorm Friday also railed against those who question his surrogates' accuracy and hinted that he would be open to ending press briefings.
President Donald Trump is interviewed by Lester Holt.
President Donald Trump is interviewed by Lester Holt.NBC News / NBC News

President Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter torrent Friday following days of punishing headlines over his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

Trump's tweetstorm railed against the "fake media" and those who expect his surrogates to defend him with "perfect accuracy," while giving a stern warning to Comey that he "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked at the daily press briefing later Friday if the president had taped Comey. "The president has nothing further to add on that," Spicer said.

Later in the briefing, Spicer declined to answer when asked if Trump was recording his conversations in the Oval Office.

He added that Trump's tweet about the "tapes" was not intended as a threat to Comey.

Trump's tumultuous 48 hours came to a head during an exclusive interview Thursday with NBC News' Lester Holt, when the president contradicted the reason for Comey's firing — giving mixed messages and undercutting what his aides and surrogates were telling reporters about the FBI chief's surprise exit.

The president said he came to the decision to oust Comey on Tuesday after thinking about how "this Russia thing ... is a made up story."

Comey had been investigating potential links between members of the Trump campaign and Russia and the Kremlin's alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Trump revealed to Holt that he had been planning to fire Comey even before he received Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's recommendation to do so.

That was a reversal from what members of the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, had told reporters. White House officials had flatly denied that the Russia investigation had something to do with Comey's firing.

Related: Fact Checking Donald Trump's Interview With NBC's Lester Holt

Trump in his interview with Holt expanded on the conversations he had with Comey after the termination letter he sent to him was made public. "I greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation," Trump wrote.

Trump said those discussions occurred once during dinner and twice over the phone. He gave no indication that those discussions or others were taped.

"I'm not under investigation," Trump added.

Related: Current and Former FBI Officials Dispute Trump Account of Comey Dinner

"Did you ask him to drop the investigation?" Holt asked.

"No. Never," Trump said.

He fired Comey on the same day that he tweeted investigations looking into his campaign and Russia were a "taxpayer funded charade."

Trump on Friday again tweeted that any alleged collusion was "fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election."

He followed up by attempting to defend his team by saying it's not their fault if they don't speak with "perfect accuracy" — and suggested that he would be open to ending future press briefings.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at the press. In February — angered by leaks coming out of his administration — Trump accused journalists at a fiery news conference of being dishonest in their reporting of him and blasting reports of Russian interference as "fake news."

He also questioned Friday when the barrage of coverage would be over:

"When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?"

Clapper, who had resigned last fall as director of national intelligence, told "Meet the Press" in March that there had been no evidence during his tenure that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

But when asked whether he still believes that the Russians tried to undermine the U.S. election to help Trump win, Clapper said: "Yes, I do."