In a brief press conference with Romania’s president, President Donald Trump let loose with some shocking responses regarding the testimony of former FBI director James Comey.
First, Trump was asked whether he had tapes of his conversations with Comey, as he implied via tweet — a tweet that Comey says led him to release news of his memos, prompting the appointment of a special counsel. Trump’s response: “I’ll tell you about that maybe some time in the very near future. ... You’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.” Trump refused to say he did not have such tapes.
Asked if there are tapes of his conversations with Comey, Pres. Trump says, "you're gonna be very disappointed when you hear the answer." pic.twitter.com/dnAYdQzreb— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 9, 2017
It is worthwhile noting that Trump has repeatedly said he would provide certain items in the “very near future” and failed to do so (see evidence regarding President Obama’s birth certificate, evidence of three million fraudulent voters, and his tax returns, among others).
Second, Trump said that Comey lied about their Oval Office meeting, at which Comey says Trump implied he wanted him to drop the investigation into just-fired National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. Trump then added, when asked whether he would testify under oath to that effect, “100% ... I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you.”
Trump’s lawyers must be smiting themselves in the foreheads over this one. No lawyer on earth would urge a client to sit down for a deposition under oath if there were any way to avoid it. That’s because even if Trump is telling the truth, there’s a decent shot he slips up somewhere and creates the predicate for a perjury charge.
As always, President Trump’s worst enemy is President Trump. He could easily absorb Comey’s charges and still be fine — I laid out precisely this strategy yesterday. Instead, Trump is putting his own credibility in opposition to Comey’s — a horrible tactic, given that 45% of voters, even according to Trump-friendly Rasmussen, trust Comey over Trump, with just 37% trusting Trump over Comey. And Comey has testified under oath now, whereas Trump has not.
This is just unwise. It keeps the scandal alive for another day. Comey himself couldn’t have asked for anything better than this from Trump.