Tensions rose on Friday after President Trump issued a warning to former FBI Chief James Comey against talking to the media about their dinner meeting and two phone calls. The threat seems to suggest there may be recorded conversations of the two men that could undermine Comey’s account and contradict his statements.
In a string of Tweets sent early Friday morning, the President said, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
The Tweet seems to suggest that if FBI Director discusses or shares his version of what happened during the contact, the White House may release recorded conversations of the two. It is unclear if and whether any such tapes exist or that Trump is simply being Trump.
It could also be that the President is trolling the media, beating them at their own game and keeping everyone guessing. Or, Trump may just be bluffing.
When asked about the Tweet during the White House Daily Briefing session, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president’s tweet was “not a threat. He simply stated a fact.”
“It is perfectly legal to record anyone in Washington,” said respected Attorney, jurist, legal scholar and author Alan Dershowitz. “The President has Executive Privilege and he doesn’t have to tell anyone about it,” he said referring to Democrats and the media now demanding a release of the tape(s), if any.
President Trump, his supporters including many Americans are frustrated by the level of hostility towards this President and the concerted effort to undermine both his Presidency and Administration. The FBI probe and parallel investigations by Senate and Congress on the alleged collusion between the Trump Presidential Campaign and Russia is threatening to overwhelm his policy priorities.
Trump also tweeted that the idea that his campaign colluded with the Russians was “fabricated by Dems” as an excuse for losing the presidential election. He then mocked the media tweeting, “The Fake Media is working overtime today!”
Democrats and the mainstream media are working in unison to bring down the Trump Presidency and his Administration. They have accused him of trying to undermine FBI investigation on the alleged Russia collusion story by dismissing Director Comey.
“Unnamed sources” have since spoken to the same media that Comey told associates that Trump requested a ‘Pledge of Loyalty’ from him during dinner at the White House, a request the FBI Director declined to do. No one has been able to verify the sources or the claim.
Trump in an interview aired last night on NBC News Nightly with Lester Holt said Comey gave him three assurances – one during dinner and twice during phone calls – that he was not under any investigation nor was he the subject of investigation.
Highlighting his constitutional right as the President to hire and fire an FBI Director, Trump reiterated in that same interview that only he alone was responsible for the decision to fire Comey “regardless of the recommendation.”
The White House has insisted that the firing of Comey had nothing to do with the Russian probe but his professional conduct or lack thereof.
The President fired Director Comey because he brought the Bureau into disrepute under his leadership. Trump then called Comey a “grandstander” and a “showboat”.
James Comey was abruptly fired on Tuesday in a shocking move that rocked the political and media world causing a 2-hour halt in Washington while lawmakers tried to make sense of what had happened. James Comey was an Obama appointee who refused to prosecute Hillary Clinton despite reading out a list of charges, a move that left the legal world in a frenzy.
News just broke out before publication of this post that former FBI James Comey has declined to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify next week. He had been invited to appear before the Intelligence Committee in a closed door hearing about why he was abruptly fired by the President. His decline will be a big blow to the media and Democrats who had been pushing for this.