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White House in Brief: Trump's Tweets, Escalation of Comey Feud, 'Tapes' Issue Raised

  • VOA News

Clockwise, from upper left, President Donald Trump, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, and the president's tweet early Friday to former FBI Director James Comey.

Developments Friday concerning President Donald Trump, his early morning tweets threatening to end White House press briefings and an escalation of a feud with former FBI Director James Comey, a look at 11 possible candidates to fill Comey's position, and former first lady Michelle Obama speaking out about the president's new school lunch directives:

White House Mum on Whether Trump Is Recording Conversations -- The White House declined on Friday to say whether Trump is recording conversations in the Oval Office or those with dinner guests in the White House.

President Donald Trump listens while attending an event in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, May 12, 2017.
President Donald Trump listens while attending an event in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, May 12, 2017.

Trump's Warning to Comey Could Chill White House Conversations -- Former White House officials said they were confounded by Trump’s Friday morning tweet that implied his meetings with former FBI Director Comey were recorded. “If those who are speaking with the president think they are being taped, with the potential to have those tapes be released, then that changes the nature of the conversation,” a former staffer for President George W. Bush told VOA on condition of anonymity.

Trump Escalates Feud with Ousted FBI Director Comey -- Trump escalated his feud with ousted former FBI Director Comey early Friday by tweeting a comment that implied there are secret recordings of one of their private conversations from earlier this year.

Trump Threatens to Stop White House Press Briefings -- Among a string of controversial tweets sent out Friday morning, Trump threatened to stop daily White House press briefings.

Former first lady Michelle Obama talks with Sam Kass, former White House Chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Nutrition, at the Partnership for a Healthier American 2017 Healthier Future Summit in Washington, May 12, 2017
Former first lady Michelle Obama talks with Sam Kass, former White House Chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Nutrition, at the Partnership for a Healthier American 2017 Healthier Future Summit in Washington, May 12, 2017

Michelle Obama Criticizes Trump School Lunch Directives -- Former first lady Michelle Obama has criticized the new Trump administration's directives on school lunches during her first high-profile public appearance since leaving the White House. "I don't care what state you live in, take me out of the equation — like me, don't like me — but think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap. Why would you celebrate that?" she said during the keynote speech.

Erdogan Mentions New Start With Trump, but Warns Turkey Will Attack Syrian Kurds -- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared both confrontational and conciliatory Friday, saying his scheduled talks next week with President Donald Trump could mark a “new beginning” in relations between the two NATO allies, who've been increasingly at cross purposes over Syria.

This is a sample of the wildlife that would be affected by the border wall proposed by US President Donald Trump.
This is a sample of the wildlife that would be affected by the border wall proposed by US President Donald Trump.

Border Wall Would Doom Ocelots, Other Wildlife -- The Department of Homeland Security has named the Rio Grande Valley, along the Texas-Mexico border, a high priority area for President Donald Trump's border wall because of the high rate of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. there. But conservationists say only 5 percent of the native habitat remains along the lower Rio Grande and a wall would be devastating to many of them.

Ideological Divide Over Abortion Again Affects US Foreign Aid -- Among the first executive actions at the White House this year, President Donald Trump reinstated a law that bans any U.S. aid to international organizations that support the practice of abortion. Here's a look at what that means to foreign aid recipients.

Trump Denies Being Under Investigation, Comey Says President Demanded 'Loyalty' -- A report in a major U.S. newspaper late Thursday said President Donald Trump summoned Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to the White House in January where the president asked Comey to "pledge his loyalty to him."

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, left, is greeted on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017, by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., next to CIA Director Mike Pompeo prior to a hearing on major threats facing the U.S.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, left, is greeted on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017, by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., next to CIA Director Mike Pompeo prior to a hearing on major threats facing the U.S.

Treasury Unit to Reportedly Share Records with Senate for Trump-Russia Probe -- A unit of the U.S. Treasury Department that fights money laundering will provide financial records to an investigation by the Senate into possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his associates, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Trump Lawyers Push Back Against Russia Ties in Letter -- Lawyers for President Donald Trump said Friday that a review of his last 10 years of tax returns did not reflect "any income of any type from Russian sources," but the letter included exceptions related to previously cited income generated from a beauty pageant and sale of a Florida estate.

Trump Weighing 11 Candidates for FBI Post -- President Donald Trump is considering 11 people to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, according to a White House official, and the Department of Justice was set to begin interviewing people this weekend.

Fact Check: Trump on Tax Rates, Canada, ‘Priming the Pump’ -- In an interview with The Economist, President Donald Trump whiffed on a batch of economic facts. Among the assertions The Associated Press says he got wrong include the Canada-U.S. trade balance, the position of the U.S. in the world ranks of tax burdens, and the claim that he coined the economic phrase "prime the pump" -- an economic phrase that’s been familiar to economists for some 80 years.

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