Hinting at secret tapes, Trump warns ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director

Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room amid the continuing collapse of official versions of the story James Comey's firing

Mr. Trump responded to claims that he contradicted the narrative that his staff, including Vice President Mike Pence, gave on the reason former FBI Director James B. Comey was sacked.

Is there a recording of a mano-a-mano, January 27 White House dinner conversation between Trump and Comey, described by the president? When Trump then pressed for "honest loyalty", Comey told him, "You will have that", the associates said.

In the interview, Trump trampled all over the White House narrative about why Comey was sacked, insisting that he would have fired Comey regardless of the recommendation he received from his Department of Justice and acknowledging that the FBI's investigation into potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials factored into his decision.

"I think the process is going to go quickly", he said, adding that the candidates under consideration were mostly well known. For example, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has said the president fired Comey because he was advised to do so. Dick Durbin said he regretted voting to confirm Rosenstein after reviewing the memorandum he drafted that laid out the rationale for dismissing Comey.

Trump's lawyers on Friday moved to try and quash any links between the president and Russia, saying that a review of his last 10 years of tax returns do not reflect "any income of any type from Russian sources", albeit with some exceptions, such as income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow.

Trump also suggested that he may bring to an end the White House press briefings, hinting that he doesn't completely trust his staff to convey his messaging accurately.

In an interview with NBC on Thursday, Trump also revealed that he had asked Comey on three occasions whether he was personally under investigation.

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"If the president has "tapes" of his conversations with Director Comey, it is because the president himself made them".

New York Democratic Sen. "And I hope he will be", Trump said.

Trump had met Comey for the first time in January, during the transition, when, along with the intelligence chiefs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director presented him with evidence of that intervention.

The face-to-face meeting between the president and the director raised other concerns. But he also said, "In fact when I chose to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won".

Via email, a Justice Department spokesperson declined comment.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Trump said Thursday he chose to fire Comey on his own, before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's memo that harshly criticized Comey's actions and suggested he should be removed.