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US President Donald Trump has attacked former FBI director James Comey as a "weak and untruthful slime ball", reacting to news accounts that cite Mr Comey as hugely critical of the President in a memoir due to be published next week.
"It was my great honour to fire James Comey!" Mr Trump said in a series of angry tweets, adding he had been a "terrible" FBI director.
Mr Trump fired Mr Comey last May and has publicly criticised him since then, but not to this extent.
Mr Trump's attack reflected months of simmering anger against a career law enforcement bureaucrat who has emerged as one of his fiercest opponents.
Mr Trump has denied any collusion, but the Russia probe has been hanging over his presidency.
"James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR," Mr Trump tweeted.
He also accused Mr Comey of lying to Congress, apparently referring to Mr Comey's Senate testimony last June, when he said he needed to get his account of his conversations with Mr Trump in the public sphere in the hope it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.
Mr Comey told politicians he had given copies of his memo detailing his talks with Mr Trump to people outside the Justice Department and asked a friend to share its contents with a journalist.
The former FBI director is doing a series of media interviews before the release of his book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, which reportedly paints a deeply unflattering picture of the President being "untethered to truth".
The interviews are Mr Comey's first public comments since he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June, when he accused Mr Trump of firing him to undermine the FBI's Russia investigation.
Mr Comey said at the time the Trump administration had lied and defamed both him and the FBI after he was dismissed on May 9.
In an interview broadcast on Friday on US ABC program Good Morning America, Mr Comey discussed his initial encounters last year with the new President.
He described Mr Trump as volatile, defensive and concerned more about his own image than about alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election.
Mr Comey said he cautioned Mr Trump against ordering an investigation into a salacious intelligence dossier alleging Russian agents videoed Mr Trump with prostitutes urinating on each other in a Moscow hotel room in 2013.
In the book, Mr Comey wrote that Mr Trump raised the intelligence dossier with him at least four times during meetings after Mr Trump took office in January, according to the Washington Post, which obtained a copy.
The dossier looking at Mr Trump's alleged ties to Russia was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele
Mr Trump denied the allegations and said he might want the FBI to investigate them to prove they were not true, Mr Comey said.
"I said to him, 'Sir that's up to you but you want to be careful about that because it might create a narrative that we're investigating you personally and, second, it's very difficult to prove something didn't happen," Mr Comey said.
He said Mr Trump was worried there was a chance his wife, Melania Trump, would believe the allegations.
In the book, Mr Comey reportedly writes that that he asked himself: "Why his wife would think there was any chance, even a small one, that he had been with prostitutes urinating on each other in a Moscow hotel room".
Mr Comey said he told the President the FBI had not proved or disproved the allegations but thought it was important Mr Trump knew about them.
Mr Comey said the allegations in the dossier had not been verified at the time he left the FBI. He said he did not know whether the events described in the dossier were true.
He said the President asked him: "Do I look a guy who needs hookers?". Mr Comey added that he "assumed he was asking that rhetorically".
In an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Comey said Trump wanted him to investigate Steele dossier "to prove that it didn't happen."
The first thing you notice when you walk into the White House press briefing room is how small it is.
One of the most familiar spaces in the world, care of the daily media conferences and those countless US political TV dramas, is really quite poky. Underwhelming even.
But this compact room has been the scene of an epic battle of wills for the last 18 months between the Trump administration and the White House press corps.
Between a President who has declared the media "the enemy of the people" and journalists determined to hold him to account.
For the first six months of Donald Trump's presidency, a key combatant was White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
A man whose tenure, by his own admission, got off to a rocky start when he called a Saturday afternoon media briefing to angrily dispute reports the Trump inauguration crowds had been on the small side.
Now, Spicer has written a book to give his side of the tumultuous story and to settle a few scores along the way.
The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President paints a generally positive portrait of Mr Trump but also gives us a valuable insight into what it is like working for the most unconventional occupant of the Oval Office.
Mr Spicer paints the President as a master of disruption and a man for whom the normal rules of politics don't apply: "He is a unicorn, riding a unicorn over a rainbow."
He marvels at how Mr Trump has managed to survive so many supposedly career-ending moments: the "grab them by the pussy" episode, declaring Senator John McCain wasn't a war hero, making up policy on the run, the list goes on.
Mr Spicer almost joyfully notes the President, "would cross the line, jump over the line and dance merrily back and forth over the line".
He admits the job of keeping up with the President proved exhausting and writes of a number of occasions when he was accosted in public over his high profile job.
Of all of Mr Spicer's embarrassing moments, this was the standout.
It started with an early morning phone call from Mr Trump insisting Mr Spicer immediately tackle reports the inauguration crowds were smaller than those for Barack Obama's first inauguration.
Mr Spicer admits berating the media in an ill-fitting suit "made a bad first impression" and concedes even the President was unhappy with his podium performance.
Looking back, he realises this was the "beginning of the end", although he did get some laughs from comedian Melissa McCarthy's Saturday Night Live skit on his day from hell.
The job of White House press secretary these days is in many cases superfluous, particularly when it comes to the President speaking for himself on Twitter.
"Keeping an eye out for his early-morning, late-night and weekend tweets was part of my new world order," Mr Spicer notes.
Mr Spicer reveals tweets sent during business hours were generally drafted by or filtered through the White House social media director.
All the rest were pure and unfiltered Trump, much to the annoyance of his press secretary.
Mr Spicer said the President's use of Twitter was a double-edged sword.
"Sometimes he's cutting up the opposition and sometimes he's cutting up his own best messages," he wrote.
Mr Spicer doesn't waste the opportunity to hit back at his press briefing bete noires, of which there are many.
He takes particular aim at CNN's Jim Acosta — "a carnival barker … grandstanding for the camera" — and he also takes swipes at the New York Times, the Washington Post and Politico.
Mr Spicer laments many White House correspondents were "trying to undermine and embarrass the administration at every turn" and takes particular umbrage with reporters who, he says, tried to make him out as a liar.
In the end, Mr Spicer concedes his relationship with the media was "radioactive" but he insists it was largely the fault of the fourth estate.
The book begins with Mr Spicer's final days at the White House.
In late July 2017, he was summoned to the Oval Office to be told by Mr Trump the administration was being "killed in the media" and things had to change.
He suggested fellow New Yorker, the fast-talking Anthony Scaramucci, was needed to more aggressively prosecute the President's case and plug the stream of White House leaks.
The next day, Mr Spicer tendered his resignation: "It was time to go."
It's not hard though to detect the glee in Mr Spicer's portrayal of Mr Scaramucci's brief and disastrous reign as communications director.
Mr Scaramucci was out after 10 days. At least Spicer lasted for six months.
Those wanting a tell-all account of life inside the Trump White House will need to wait for another book.
While Mr Spicer is slightly critical of some aspects of the President's behaviour, he clearly still admires the "charismatic but erratic" Commander-in-Chief.
And while Mr Spicer makes some valid points about a media obsessed with "gotcha moments" and "palace intrigue" at the expense of serious policy analysis, much of the book amounts to an extended payback session for journalists simply trying to do their job of sifting through White House fact and fiction.
A friend of mine and a man who has truly seen politics and life as few others ever will, Sean Spicer, has written a great new book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.” It is a story told with both heart and knowledge. Really good, go get it!
Now you don't have to read it.
Simon & Schuster plans to publish "Fear: Trump in the White House," on Sept 11. The book is Mr. Woodward's 19th.