Trump Says His False Threat of “Tapes” Was Designed to Pressure Comey

”I think his story may have changed.”

President Donald Trump offered a curious defense for publishing a tweet last month that suggested the existence of secret “tapes” of his private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. On Thursday, the same day he admitted there were no tapes, he told Fox & Friends that he issued the false threat in order to influence Comey’s testimony in the hearings on Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

“When he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, I think his story may have changed,” Trump said in an interview that aired Friday morning. “You’ll have to take a look at that, because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events.”

“That was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in his hearings,” Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt said.

“Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that,” Trump responded.

Trump’s admission on Thursday that he never made or possessed any such recordings appeared to acknowledge that he purposely misled the public. Some legal experts, including the former ethics czar under the Obama administration, have since likened Trump’s stunt to intimidating a witness. 

It was Trump’s firing of Comey that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russia’s interference in the election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Mueller’s probe is said to have recently been expanded to include an examination of whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice by sacking Comey.

In the same Fox & Friends interview Thursday, Trump hinted at his annoyance regarding Mueller and Comey’s close relationship, calling their friendship “very bothersome.” He declined to say whether Mueller should consider recusing himself from the special probe.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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