Last Week Tonight host John Oliver reveled in last week’s admission by President Donald Trump that he did not, as he had suggested on Twitter, tape his conversations with FBI director James Comey before sacking him.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump tweeted back in May.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he had no idea if someone taped conversations with Comey, but he did not have any such tapes. Soon thereafter, Trump explained why he had suggested there were recordings, telling Fox News Channel that while he did not tape Comey, “you never know what’s happening when you see the Obama administration” with all its “unmasking and surveillance” and “horrible situation with surveillance all over the place, so you never know what’s out there.”
Observed Oliver, “Whenever Trump talks, it’s like a cross between a lottery machine that spits out words and a Speak & Spell that just fell into a toilet.”
But Trump also explained to FNC the strategic brilliance of his first tweet as a means of influencing Comey.
“When he found out that maybe there were tapes out there, whether governmental tapes or who knows…I think his story may have changed,” Trump said of Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“You’ll have to take a look at that, because he has to tell what actually took place at the events. My story didn’t change. My story was always a straight story. My story was always the truth. But you’ll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed.”
Thrown a compliment that it was “a smart way to make sure he stayed honest at those hearings” Trump responded, “Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you.”
“Let’s break down what just happened there,” Oliver dove in with both feet.
“He didn’t just casually admit to misleading the American public. He also implied that doing so may have swayed Comey testimony which, if that was his intent, could constitute witness tampering.”
Trump also implied in his remark that tossing out the tape idea compelled Comey to tell the truth. In so doing, Oliver noted, Trump verified Comey’s account of his interaction with Trump, “which is incredibly damaging to the president.”
“So yeah, Trump might be right. It wasn’t very stupid.
“It was extraordinarily stupid.”
Oliver opened Sunday’s show itching to talk about the reax of Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, to his Last Week Tonight story on coal.
‘’It’s true. We are currently being sued by Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy. And, look, I desperately want to talk to you about this tonight. But our lawyers have suggested the court be the venue where we work this out. And I do get that. But I promise we will tell you all about this as soon as it is over.”