Trump threatens to cancel briefings; Spicer back at podium

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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". Later, however, they said that Trump had planned to fire Comey regardless.

After the onslaught of criticism for the way the White House has changed details of its Comey firing narrative, Mr Trump tweeted on Friday that because of his busy schedule and with lots of things happening, it was not "possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with flawless accuracy".

To make things absolutely clear, the article explains that Spicer was behind the hedge because otherwise, "to get back to his office, Spicer would have to pass a swarm of reporters wanting to know why President Trump suddenly chose to fire the Federal Bureau of Investigation director".

Trump then defended both deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as "a lovely young woman", who had substituted for Spicer during the briefings on Wednesday and Thursday, when he was serving duty with the Navy Reserve, and calling Spicer "a wonderful human being" and "a nice man".

"Are you moving so quickly that your communications department can't keep up with you?" 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.

"Are you sure that what the President wrote is true?" asked host George Stephanopoulos.

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The White House also changed its narrative about whether the president had made a decision to fire Comey based on the recommendations by Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Trump administration has offered several accounts of how Comey's firing went down.

"Yes, that's true", Trump said.

The White House also shifted its stance on whether Comey's termination had anything to do with the Russian Federation investigation, at first saying it was not linked.

Sanders said that misstep hurt Comey's credibility, and added to a "constant barrage of mistakes". But she assured reporters that there was still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, despite a year's worth of speculation in the media.

The switch followed a disastrous impromptu news conference outside the White House Tuesday night in which Mr Spicer hid behind some bushes until TV cameramen turned out their lights and agreed not to take video of the briefing.