President Donald Trump, who attempted to intimidate FBI Director James Comey after sacking him, with a tweeted threat he might have recorded their conversations, this morning tweeted “kidding” — or words to that effect:
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that it is “possible” we would have an answer by the end of this week as to whether tapes really do exist of President Trump’s conversations with former FBI Director James Comey or if the President of the United States, when he tweeted suggesting there might be tapes, was just making shit up.
Maybe not coincidentally, Trump has a deadline of the end of this week to turn over to the House Intel Committee all memos about, and any tapes of, conversations with Comey.
Ten days ago, Trump again dodged a question as to whether he did, as he hinted, tape conversations with the FBI director, as he had suggested in a tweet shortly after sacking Comey.
“Well, I will tell you about that, sometime in the very near future,” Trump sidestepped when a reporter directly asked him, during a Rose Garden news conference, whether the tapes actually exist.
Addressing the questions at a joint presser with Romania President Klaus Iohannis, reporters noted Trump was “hinting” the tapes exist. “I’m not hinting anything. I’ll tell you over a very short period of time,” Trump shot back. “Oh you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer,” he added as reporters kept lobbing more tape questions. Back then, Spicer told reporters, in response to questions as to when they would have an answer on Trump tapes: “When he’s ready. Just watch the helicopter.”
This storyline in Donald Trump Theatre debuted in May, when Trump tweeted, the day after sacking Comey:
Trump’s tweet seemed to suggest that POTUS had recorded those conversations, though he refused to elaborate in a Fox News Channel interview days later. The tweet triggered TV news pundit to talk – again – of Richard Nixon and Watergate. Those pundits thought Trump ought to know that if he did record that dinner or those two phone calls he does not own them; they are federal records, thanks to Nixon.
Ironically, Comey testified he set in motion the leak of his memo about his dinner with President Donald Trump to The New York Times. That led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the probe of Russian interference in the presidential election and whether Trump campaign staffers colluded in that effort. Mueller’s probe reportedly has expanded to also look into whether Trump may have obstructed justice in firing Comey.
Comey said he gave a copy of the memo to a pal when Trump tweeted he might have taped their conversation. Comey told the Senate Intel Committee he wanted to get out into the public his version of what went down. “My judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. And so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons. But I asked him to…because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”