WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump and the FBI (all times local):
President Donald Trump’s lawyers say a review of his last 10 years of tax returns do not reflect “any income of any type from Russian sources,” with some exceptions.
The lawyers did not release copies of Trump’s tax returns so The Associated Press cannot independently verify their conclusions.
The letter says there is no equity investment by Russians in entities controlled by Trump or debt owed by Trump to Russian lenders. It does reflect income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow and a property sold to a Russian billionaire in 2008 for $95 million.
The White House says Trump asked his lawyers for a letter following a request from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who heads one of the congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in last year’s election.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump lashed out in a series of tweets Friday morning amid a firestorm over the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, defending the shifting narrative and timeline his administration has offered for the decision.
He questioned whether his administration should cancel all future press briefings and, instead, replace them with written responses to questions, “for the sake of accuracy.”
The president’s advisers said this week that Trump fired Comey on Tuesday in response to a recommendation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Later, however, they said that Trump had planned to fire Comey regardless.
The president tweeted, “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!”
He added, “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy?”
The decision to fire Comey amid an ongoing FBI investigation into ties between the Russian government and members of Trump’s 2016 campaign has raised concerns that Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the information she and her colleagues offered was consistent. “It was a quick-moving process,” she said. “We took the information we had as best we have it and got it out to the American people as quickly as we could.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Rosenstein drafted the memo raising concerns about Comey on his own accord. The next day, Sanders said the president asked Rosenstein to put his concerns in writing.
The White House also changed its narrative about whether the president had decided to fire Comey based on the recommendations by Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
At first, the administration said that Rosenstein “made the recommendation, the president made a swift and decisive action and let Comey go.”
Later, the president and his advisers said Trump had planned to fire Comey since taking office.
The White House also shifted its stance on whether Comey’s termination had anything to do with the Russia investigation, at first saying it was not linked. Later, Sanders said, “We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity.”
“And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen,” she added.
Earlier Friday, Trump reiterated his view that reports about collusion with the Russian government by members of his 2016 campaign are “fabricated.”
The president tweeted, “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”
“The Fake Media is working overtime today!” he added.
The latest tweets are not the first time the administration has threatened to limit media access. During the transition, Trump’s advisers floated the idea of moving the media from the White House to the nearby Executive Office Building to accommodate media interest. But many interpreted it as a move to limit media access.
President Donald Trump is warning that former FBI Director James Comey “better hope” that there are no “tapes” of their conversations.
Trump tweeted Friday, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, later saying that “he wasn’t doing a good job.”
In the termination letter to Comey, Trump thanked him for telling the president “three times” that he personally is not under investigation for collusion with Russia during his 2016 campaign.
Trump said in an NBC News interview Thursday that Comey told him once over dinner and twice by telephone that he isn’t under investigation.
Comey has not commented since he was fired.
President Donald Trump is reiterating his view that reports about collusion with the Russian government by members of his 2016 campaign are “fabricated.”
The president tweeted early Friday that “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”
He added, “The Fake Media is working overtime today!”
In an interview with NBC News Thursday, Trump said he asked FBI Director James Comey point-blank if he was under investigation and was assured three times he was not.
Trump sent Comey a letter Tuesday firing him. In it, he thanked Comey for the three assurances.
Trump showed no concern that the request might be viewed as interference in an active FBI probe.
President Donald Trump says his busy schedule makes it “not possible” for his staff to speak at the podium with “perfect accuracy.”
Trump on Friday defended the struggle by his administration to come up with a consistent timeline and rationale for the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey this week.
Trump tweeted, “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!”
He added, “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy-?”
The president’s advisers said Trump fired Comey in response to a recommendation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, then said Trump had planned to fire Comey regardless.
President Donald Trump is contradicting previous White House explanations for the firing of James Comey as FBI director.
Trump says in an interview with NBC News that he had planned to fire Comey all along, regardless of the recommendations of top Justice Department officials.
Initially the White House cited a Justice Department memo criticizing Comey’s handling of last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails as the impetus for Trump’s decision.
On Capitol Hill, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe strongly disputed the White House’s assertion that Comey had been fired in part because Comey had lost the confidence of the FBI’s rank-and-file.
In the NBC interview, Trump derided Comey as a “showboat” and “grandstander” and said Comey had left the FBI in “virtual turmoil.”