United States democracy 'under assault by Donald Trump' after James Comey firing

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein left leaving a meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman and top Democrat on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on Thursday

May 11, 2017: Trump, in an NBC interview, says he had been intending to fire Comey - whom he derided as a "showboat" and "grandstander" - for months.

Democrats have raised an outcry over the dismissal of Comey, who as FBI chief was in charge of the investigation into Russian meddling in the USA election.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump had pressed Comey for his loyalty in a January 27 dinner meeting, but that he only promised that "he would be honest with him always".

Lee, a longtime agent, is special agent in charge of the FBI's Richmond office.

"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

"Even that is possible", he told reporters when asked whether he could announce his nominee by Friday, when he is scheduled to leave for the Mideast and Europe.

A review of Trump's views about how Comey performed his job, including his criticism of the former secretary of state's "reckless" misuse of a private, unsecured email server, ran from hot to cold. Clinton said her campaign was on track to win the election until Comey sent the letter to Congress on October 28.

Calling Mr Trump's remarks about possible taped conversations "outrageous", senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel or another congressional committee would "absolutely" subpoena the tapes.

Jake Tapper is questioning how Republicans would have reacted if a Democratic president had fired the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation instead of a Republican.

After four months in office, President Donald Trump has become distrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime aides, and furious that the White House's attempts to quell the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russian Federation investigations only seem to add more fuel.

Other candidates include former NY police commissioner Raymond Kelly, former Republican senator Kelly Ayotte, and South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy.

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When pressed, Trump threw his Justice Department and spokespeople - who had maintained the cover story for two days - under the bus.

(CNN) President Donald Trump denied allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives in an interview Saturday night on Fox News, adding that he wants "to get to the bottom" of the questions about Russian influence in the election.

Even before Trump's provocative tweets, the White House was scrambling to clarify why Comey was sacked.

"Let them do it", Trump said.

Comey declined an invitation to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed meeting on Tuesday for scheduling reasons, said Warner's spokesman.

Earlier Thursday, on Capitol Hill, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe strongly disputed the White House's assertion that Comey had been fired in part because he had lost the confidence of the FBI's own rank-and-file.

"I think the process is going to move quickly because nearly all of them (candidates) are well-known", Trump said.

"The president has nothing further to add on that", Spicer said numerous times in answer to rapid-fire questions in a later press conference. Trump calls Comey over to where he is standing in the Blue Room to offer a handshake and a partial hug, then comments that Comey has "become more famous than me".

Perhaps because of Trump's public statements, the first explanation for Comey's firing was that the President took action based on a recommendation.

Then, on Friday, Trump threatened Comey to stay silent - floating the possibility that "tapes" might exist of their conversations.

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