President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey more than once about over the course of a January dinner whether he could be loyal, according to sources familiar with the meeting.
Comey, who was fired from his high-ranking position Tuesday evening, only promised the president that he could be honest, the sources told ABC News.
The now-former director's dramatic firing has led to days of controversy and criticism about the future of the bureau and the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump camp and Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
The New York Times first reported on the dinner meeting on Thursday, saying that seven days after Trump was sworn in as president Jan. 20, Comey was “summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief."
In a Fox News interview on Friday with Jeanine Pirro, Trump denied he’d asked Comey for loyalty.
"No, no I didn't, but I don't think it would be a bad question to ask. I think loyalty to the county, loyalty to the United States is important. You know, I mean it depends on how you define loyalty," he said.
In his letter announcing Comey's termination, Trump wrote that that he "greatly appreciated" Comey having informed him on "three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation."
On Thursday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reiterated the president's claim in his letter to Comey — despite denials from associates of the former FBI director that Trump was reassured by Comey that he was not under investigation.
"I have heard that directly from him that information was relayed directly to him from director Comey," Sanders said during the press briefing, noting that she got her information directly from the president.
"I don’t know if there was collusion,” Clapper said. "I don’t know if there was evidence of collusion, nor should I have."
On Friday morning, Trump — apparently referring to press accounts that Comey told him he was not under investigation — tweeted "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declined to comment further when asked Friday if there was recording taking place in the Oval Office.
When asked by Pirro about the implications of tape recordings, Trump said "I can't talk about that. I won't talk about that.
"All I want is for Comey to be honest. And I hope he will be. I'm sure he will be. I hope," added Trump in the Fox News interview.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Jordyn Phelps and Alex Mallin contributed to this story.