During a Friday morning tweetstorm, the president appeared to imply that there are tapes of his private conversations with Comey, who Trump fired earlier this week.
In a tweet, Trump issued a threat to Comey over "leaking to the press". Multiple officials, including Pence, said the president was acting at the behest of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Comey further damaged the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ by laying out details of the case, which the Trump-era DOJ said is a break from standard DOJ procedures.
"Everybody's convinced: They say there is no collusion", Trump said.
While that was initially the stated reason the White House gave for Comey's firing up until the NBC interview, Trump's own statements about it raised even more questions about his decision to fire the FBI director who was running an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The White House said Trump is weighing options for replacing Comey, a decision that could have broad implications for the future of the Russian Federation investigation. According to the Times' sources, the famously independent Comey declined to pledge loyalty and instead promised "honesty".
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". Thomas O'Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association, told Politico that Comey's firing was a "gut punch to the organization".
"As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with ideal accuracy!"
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Gomez said the director Trump appoints could try to end the investigation, but "I think that's when you're going to see a lot of resistance, both vocal and passive, from people within the FBI".
The president represented himself in an interview with Jeanine Pirro that aired on Fox News on Saturday evening, in one of the few shows to secure any comment from the White House over the weekend about the previous week's events.
The explanation rapidly shifted when Trump told NBC News he had long wanted to fire Comey, calling him a "showboat". "The president's actions also risk undermining the ongoing criminal and counterintelligence investigations and the independence of federal law enforcement agencies".
"I would note that NY is a one-party consent state, and President Trump has always abided by the law", said Sam Nunberg, a former campaign aide. "It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won".
These reasons contradicted the White House's assertions - and even the widely disseminated termination letter Trump sent Comey - that the dismissal was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who criticized Comey's handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton a year ago.
Spicer called the coverage of changing stories behind Comey's dismissal miss the point.
"This is actually a reversal of the worst fears any president ever had about Director Hoover", said Gomez, referring to former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's practice of gathering compromising material on foes to keep them in line.
The firing has plunged the Trump White House into another political crisis, as Democrats have roundly castigated the decision, and some Republicans have expressed unease. Shutting down news briefings, the association said in a statement, "would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the USA system, no political figure is above being questioned".