UPDATED With Video President Donald Trump on Fox & Friends today boasted that his maybe-there-are-tapes ploy “wasn’t very stupid,” and that the dangling possibility of recordings might have kept former FBI director James Comey honest during recent Senate intelligence committee hearings.
Trump suggested that Comey’s “story may have changed” after he found out that Trump might have taped their conversations. (See the clip below.)
Trump, of course, had been bluffing when he hinted that he had tapes of the Comey/Trump convos, and the impact of that dishonesty would have had no impact on the detailed journals Comey kept of the conversations.
Giving his first TV interview since May 13, Trump and, briefly, wife Melania spoke with Fox & Friends‘ Ainsley Earhardt – the taped interview aired in bits and pieces throughout this morning’s show – also spoke about Nancy Pelosi and Robert Mueller, but mostly about Comey.
Here’s the president’s word salad about the non-existent Comey tapes:
“I didn’t tape him, you never know what’s happening, when you see what the Obama Administration, and perhaps longer than that, was doing, all of this unmasking and surveillance and you read all about it and I’ve been reading about it the last couple of months, about the seriousness of the and the horrible situation with surveillance all over the place. You been hearing the word unmasking, a word you’ve probably never heard before, so you never know what’s out there and I didn’t tape and I don’t have any tape and I didn’t tape.
“But when (Comey) found out that there maybe are tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else or who knows, I think his story may have changed and you’ll have to look into that because then he’ll have to tell what actually took place at the events. And my story didn’t change, my story was always the straight story, my story was always the truth, but you’ll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But I did not tape.”
Earhardt then gushed, “It was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings.”
“Well,” said Trump, knowing an opportunity when he sees one, “it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that. He did admit that what I said was right and, if you look further back before he heard about that, maybe he wasn’t admitting that.”
As for Pelosi, Trump said about current Democratic disgruntlement with the Minority Speaker, “I hope she doesn’t step down. I think it would be a very, very sad day for Republicans if she steps down.”
On special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump said Mueller is “very, very good friends” with Comey and that the “people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters.” He added that Mueller “is an honorable man and hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable solution.”
As for Republican opponents of the pending Senate health care bill, Trump said “I think we’re going to get there, we have four very good people and it’s not that they’re opposed, they’d like to get certain changes and we’ll see if we can take care of that.”