Trump: I bluffed Comey on ‘tapes’ to keep him honest

President Trump’s warning last month that his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey might have been taped was an attempt to affect Comey’s public statements and his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the president admitted in an interview Friday morning. After refusing to comment for nearly six weeks, Trump finally acknowledged Thursday that he has no such tapes.

“When he found out that I, you know, that there might be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed,” Trump said of Comey in a “Fox & Friends” interview.

“And my story didn’t change,” he added. “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.”

Comey made no public statements between his firing May 9 and his testimony before Congress June 8.

Days after Comey’s shocking firing, Trump tweeted, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

On Thursday, he followed up on that suggestion with two carefully crafted tweets.

“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.”

Asked by “Fox & Friends” if the threat “was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest,” Trump agreed, responding, “It wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that.”

“He did admit that what I said was right,” Trump continued. “And if you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn’t admitting that.”

Trump appeared to refer to Comey’s private assurances that Trump was not personally a target of the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Comey testified Trump pressured him to say so publicly, repeatedly telling the ousted FBI director, “We need to get that fact out.”

Trump and Comey. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Susan Walsh/AP, Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)


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