Donald Trump demanded James Comey's loyalty and didn't get it

Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pauses during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington Thursday

Explaining Comey's firing challenges White House advisers

Trump's communications team has come under fire this week for its misrepresentation of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. And when Sally Yates, then serving as acting attorney general, told the White House that Flynn had lied when he denied discussing US sanctions with Kislyak, and thus could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, Trump waited 18 days to fire him.

"The FBI has been in turmoil".

"I said, if it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation?"

Comey reportedly declined to testify at a closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Republican chairman of the panel, Richard Burr, and the top Democrat, Mark Warner, praised Mr Comey, with Mr Warner saying he was offended at Mr Trump's remarks.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, McCabe repeatedly - and at times bluntly - rejected some of the claims the White House has used to explain the firing and to describe the investigation.

In a letter released to the AP, the attorneys said there is no equity investment by Russians in entities controlled by Trump or debt owed by Trump to Russian lenders.

"I was going to fire him regardless of recommendations", said the president.

"I don't see it as a conflict of interest", Sanders said. Trump said in a series of Tweets Friday. Eight met Saturday with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, throughout the day. Although they're likely to mount considerable pressure before and during the confirmation process, they don't control enough votes to influence the outcome since Republicans hold a 52-seat majority in the Senate.

When Trump was pressed during a campaign conference last year about his ties to Russia, he said: "You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach", adding that "I sold it to a Russian for $100 million". That memo cited Comey's mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's secret email server as the primary reason for his firing.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to White House reporters: "The President, over the last several months, lost confidence in Director Comey".

"We had a very nice dinner". Do you think they need to tone it down?

So far, the episode has attracted a wave of fiery criticism from Democrats, who maintained that firing Comey was part of Trump's plan to undercut the FBI investigation and called for an independent prosecutor to take over the investigation. Luttig clashed with the Bush White House on a prominent terror case, rebuking the administration for its actions in the case involving "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla.

John McCain, a Republican senator who chairs the Senate Military Services Committee, has called for stepping up the inquiry about the Trump campaign's ties with Russian Federation.

The shifting accounts of the decision to fire Comey, whom Trump derided as a "showboat" and "grandstander", added to a mounting sense of uncertainty and chaos in the West Wing, as aides scrambled to get their stories straight and appease an angry president.

Noted legal scholar Laurence Tribe told the agencies that if Comey did indeed answer Trump's question, it would violate Department of Justice rules and "would be unthinkably unethical and unprofessional in this situation".

Vice President Mike Pence to reporters on Capitol Hill: "He brought that recommendation to the President, and the attorney general concurred with that recommendation, and I personally am grateful that we have a President who is willing to provide the kind of decisive and strong leadership to take the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove an Federal Bureau of Investigation director who had lost the confidence of the American people".

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