In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, the president said Comey told him directly, "You are not under investigation", when Trump asked him about the probe examining his campaign's possible collusion with the Kremlin during the 2016 election. But in an interview yesterday with NBC, Trump himself said the firing was his idea and that it tied to his frustration with Comey leading the Russian Federation investigation.
But as the White House deals with credibility concerns following its shifting accounts of why Comey was sacked on Tuesday, retired Federal Bureau of Investigation agents are questioning why someone of Comey's standing and professional reputation would engage Trump in a conversation that so clearly presents a conflict of interest.
This week has seen not only a near-constitutional crisis, but also a cataclysmic communications disaster after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been investigating whether the president's associates had colluded with Russian Federation to influence the 2016 presidential election. "I said, if it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation?"
President Trump was given letters by his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mr Sessions' deputy, Rod J Rosenstein, outlining what they saw as failures in Mr Comey's time in office. "I don't know if there was evidence of collusion or not, nor should I have in this particular context".More news: New photo marks Princess Charlotte's second birthday
In an exclusive interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt earlier Thursday, Trump said he believed Comey requested the dinner.
O'Donnell's original remark was in response to the bureau chief's decision to inform the United States of an investigation into Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the presidential election.
The White House disagreed with these characterizations of the dinner, telling the Times that those accounts were not accurate. The HuffPost/YouGov and Politico/Morning Consult polls gave people an option to say that they weren't sure.
Trump's tweet about Comey was likely a reaction to a New York Times report, published Thursday night, detailing a one-on-one dinner Trump had with Comey shortly after the inauguration.More news: Lewis Hamilton faster than Valtteri Bottas in Spanish Grand Prix first practice
"But I said to myself I might even lengthen out the investigation".
But Friday afternoon, Rosenstein said he did not see the need at this time for a special prosecutor, CNN reported.
"He's doing a good job but he gets beat up", Trump responded. "He said, 'You are not under investigation'". Now, should I say no, I'm not going to see him? Journalists will find it hard not to draw connections between the Russian Federation probe and the Trump administration's intensified contacts with Russian Federation. If Comey did indeed refuse to pledge loyalty to Trump, he was correct for doing so; if Trump did indeed fire Comey because he was insufficiently loyal, he violated the spirit of the Constitution by doing so.
At the center of the scrutiny is whether Rosenstein was instructed to draft a memo justifying Comey's dismissal or whether he chose to write the document without direction.More news: Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa