As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

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Trump Threatens to End the Daily Press Briefing

President Trump seems furious at the widespread negative coverage this morning of the White House’s rationale for Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, threatening to put an end to the daily White House briefing.

Much of the coverage has suggested that the White House changed its story from one that sought to portray Trump as firing Comey on the recommendations of Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and that Trump contradicted his advisers and Vice President Pence when he said Thursday he was going to fire Comey no matter the recommendations.

But it’s not exactly true that Trump contradicted anyone.

Much of the coverage of the alleged contradiction has focused on statements by Pence, who repeatedly said Wednesday morning that Trump had accepted the recommendations of Rosenstein and Sessions to get rid of Comey. But while Pence’s statements are a clear effort by the White House, which knew the decision would be controversial, to push responsibility over to the Justice Department, what Pence said was misleading but technically true.

And as far as I’m aware, Pence did not suggest that this was the first time firing Comey had occurred to Trump. In fact, it would be ridiculous to think that Trump simply suddenly decided based on the recommendation of a newly installed deputy attorney general to get rid of the head of the FBI.

Tuesday night, Kellyanne Conway was also offering the spin that Trump had taken the recommendation of the Justice Department. But, what is less well reported is that she also made it clear that Trump’s decision was part of a process that predated the recommendation.

“It makes complete sense because he has lost confidence in the FBI director and he took the recommendation of Rod Rosenstein,” Conway said of the firing. “He has lost confidence,” as in, it happened in the past.

Anyway, Trump is not going to do away with the briefing. He enjoys watching it too much. And it’s a great chance for him to gain intelligence for himself on what the press is thinking and gauge how his own White House is responding.