US President Donald Trump also rejects media reports that said he had asked the former FBI director for his loyalty at a dinner in January.
Donald Trump warned ousted FBI Director James Comey on Friday not to talk to the media. Trump seemed to suggest that if Comey gave his version of contacts between them, the administration might produce tapes of conversations, although it was not clear if such tapes exist.
"James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump said in a string of Twitter posts on Friday.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The highly unusual move prompted fresh charges that the president fired and now is trying to silence the man who led an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's election campaign and Russia.
Critics have attacked Trump for dismissing the FBI chief just as the agency is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Media outlets had reported that the president asked Comey in January to pledge loyalty to him when the two had dinner and that Comey refused to do so.
The White House disputed the media reports on Friday stating, the president had not asked former FBI director to pledge loyalty to him during the dinner.
Asked whether the accounts were true, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, "No."
"I think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law," he said.
Asked whether anyone in the White House had an audio recording of the dinner, as Trump suggested in a tweet earlier on Friday, Spicer said: "I'm not aware of that."
Trump also disputed the allegations on TV by saying he did not ask Comey to pledge loyalty and only wants him to be honest.
"No, I didn't, but I don't think it would be a bad question to ask," Trump told Fox News Channel in an interview set to air in full on Saturday. "Loyalty to the country, loyalty to the United States is important. I mean it depends on how you define loyalty."
Asked about his suggestion in a tweet earlier on Friday that there might be recordings of his conversations with Comey, Trump said: "That I can't talk about. I won't talk about that."
"All I want is for Comey to be honest and I hope he will be and I'm sure he will be - I hope," he said.
CNN citing unnamed source said Comey was "not worried about any tapes" Trump may have.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, parallel congressional investigations and his battles with the media have clouded Trump's presidency since he took office on January 20, threatening to overwhelm his policy priorities.
Trump Strikes Back
Trump also hit back on Friday at media reports questioning the credibility of White House accounts of why Comey was fired and threatened an end to regular White House press briefings.
"As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!" Trump said. "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future 'press briefings' and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???"
As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
...Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
The White House had said Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of the top Justice Department officials: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein. In the NBC interview on Thursday, Trump said he would have fired Comey regardless of any such recommendations.
The White House has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russia probe. On Thursday, Trump told NBC he knew he ran the risk that by firing Comey he would "confuse people" and "lengthen out the investigation" into ties to Russia.
The president said he never pressured Comey into dropping the FBI probe, and added that there was no "collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians."