Remember when President Trump threatened on twitter that James Comey “better hope there are no tapes” of conversations between Comey and Trump? The threat seemed hollow at that time, perhaps just a way to make Comey second-guess whatever he may say in the future. Well, the President could be under threat of subpoena to come forward with these recordings, so he admitted that no such recordings exist.
CNN reports on this bombshell we all knew was coming:
President Donald Trump did not record his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, he tweeted on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation kick-started by the President himself.
“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump tweeted.
The statement ended speculation about whether the President recorded conversations in the Oval Office. Comey, who Trump fired last month, said he had hoped there were recordings of their conversations.
Here are the tweets from yesterday:
…whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
Sure, that sounds kind of vague. So maybe the President doesn’t “have” the tapes, and maybe he didn’t “make” the tapes, but could there still be recordings that exist? His reference to recordings intelligence agencies is not actually that crazy considering the amount of leaks and information coming out of the federal government on an almost-daily basis. Or, it could be a further instance of the President extending the threat by simply making it more vague. “No, I don’t have recordings, but someone else might…”
Either way, this is the sort of thing Trump’s legal team is trying to prevent now. Almost assuredly the first “recordings” tweet sent after Comey was fired came from Trump just flinging it out there. I’m sure he didn’t think it would ever mean much, but now it does, and I’m sure if there are recordings, Special Counsel Robert Mueller would love to hear them.
Trump addressed the matter this morning on Fox & Friends, according to Politico:
After announcing Thursday that he did not have recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey – recordings that weeks earlier he had suggested might exist – President Donald Trump said in an interview that aired Friday that “my story didn’t change.”
“I don’t have any tape and I didn’t tape,” Trump told Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” in an interview taped on Thursday, reiterating what he had announced earlier that day on Twitter. “My story didn’t change. My story was always a straight story. My story was always the truth.”
The president fired Comey last month, a decision he later said he made with the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government’s effort to interfere in it weighing on his mind. Days after that firing, Trump wrote online that the fired director “better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
True, in the first “tapes” tweet, Trump said, “Comey better hope there are no tapes,” which is different than saying, “I have tapes of Comey’s conversations with me.” The first tweet was just enough to light the fire, but not enough to be considered a “lie” if and when it turns out there are no tapes.
So Trump saying now that he was “truthful,” sort of rings true, but only by the letter of what it means in the legal sense. Technically he didn’t say there were tapes, he just alluded to their existence in a way he could deny it later.
Ahh well, so goes the story everyday. This saga is getting old.