With 'tapes' tweet, Trump evokes Nixon's White House

In the interview with NBC's Lester Holt, the president said that this was a dinner that Mr. Comey had asked for because he wanted to keep his job. Comey declined, instead offering "honest".

"I'm not saying it any way", Trump said. He says that he was asked to come to the White House for dinner.

Ward said the timing rationale is another conspiracy theory meant to destabilize the Trump administration. Nothing can be taken at face value, from White House estimates of the size of the inauguration crowd, to Spicer denying that Trump's effort to block entry of refugees and travelers from a number of predominantly Muslim countries is a "ban" (the word Trump has used), to the events that led to Comey's dismissal.

That Trump did indeed record those conversations and he might release audio to rebut whatever comments Comey might make?

Trump began his day on Friday with a series of inflammatory Twitter posts, including a barely veiled threat against Comey, an assertion that it's "not possible" for his spokespeople to accurately represent him, and a suggestion he may end the White House's practice of briefing reporters on most weekdays.

The lawyers did not release copies of Mr Trump's tax returns, so they can not be independently verified.

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.

Most alarming, though is that Trump himself doesn't understand that the president of the United States is powerful, but not omnipotent, something he seems to crave as part of an irrepressible authoritarian instinct.

The White House's explanations continued to crumble throughout the day Thursday.

The Times' account, which cited associates of Comey, came two days after Trump fired the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, sending ripples across Washington and raising questions about the timing of the ouster, which comes amid the FBI's probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

"That is not accurate, " McCabe said. Lyndon Johnson also recorded conversations.

"The President should immediately provide any such recordings to Congress or admit, once again, to have made a deliberately misleading - and in this case threatening - statement", Schiff said in an emailed release.

Is it the details of the Comey-Trump dinner and the president's hints of secret "tapes"? Comey found the allegations confounding, according to his associate, and wondered what to make of what he described as odd thoughts coming from his new boss. "Another president, I won't use names, but another president doesn't doing what I'm doing". He said that while he received a scathing assessment of Comey's performance from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday, that memo was not a catalyst for his dramatic decision as the White House had said earlier. "Regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey".

That's far different from the White House's initial account in the hours after Comey's firing.

First, why - here's what the president said yesterday to NBC News. Will the FBI? Will the nation get the special prosecutor it so desperately needs to cut through the smoke, denials and obfuscations to get at least a semblance of a clear picture of whether Trump aides worked with Russian Federation, and whether Comey's dismissal was an attempt to interfere with the investigation?

Still chafing at media coverage of the firing, Mr Trump tweeted on Friday: "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???" Earlier this week, Burr confirmed in a tweet that Comey had been invited to a closed session to testify.

White House officials and others insisted on anonymity in order to disclose private conversations and internal deliberations.

"Democrats and Jeff Flake are suffering from Trump derangement syndrome", she said.