In his first interview in more than a month, President Donald Trump said his bluff about taping conversations between him and recently-deposed FBI Director James Comey “wasn’t very stupid,” as it served as an attempt to make sure Comey told the truth in the recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. And as he spoke to Fox & Friends on Friday morning, Trump covered a few other related topics, including the possibility of the Obama administration wiring the Oval Office, and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s purported involvement in the 2016 presidential elections.
On May 12, Trump had memorably warned Comey that he had “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations,” sparking more than a month of speculation as to whether the Donald Trump tapes existed or not. But as reported by CNN on Thursday, these tapes were, in fact, nonexistent, as the President took to Twitter to end the gossip once and for all. The brief statement had Trump saying that he “did not make, and (does) not have” such recordings of talks with the former FBI Director, but the President would go on to add that there may have been some surveillance going on in the White House, albeit with no actual attempts that he was aware of.
Joined by his wife Melania, Trump appeared this morning on Fox & Friends, speaking with the show’s Ainsley Earhardt in his first television interview since May 13. As Deadline reported, Trump reiterated his recent statement about not taping James Comey all along, suggesting that he bluffed about the recordings as a strategic gambit to keep Comey honest in the Senate hearings.
“When (Comey) found out that there maybe are tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else or who knows, I think his story may have changed and you’ll have to look into that because then he’ll have to tell what actually took place at the events.”
Donald Trump Says Obama May Have Planted Secret Recorders in Oval Office https://t.co/aWCYK9LiEQ
— TMZ (@TMZ) June 23, 2017
When Earhardt commented that Donald Trump’s tape bluff was a smart move, the President agreed with her assessment, adding the following remarks.
“It wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that. He did admit that what I said was right and, if you look further back before he heard about that, maybe he wasn’t admitting that.”
Interestingly, some publications, including TMZ, analyzed some of the other things Trump had mentioned in his Fox & Friends interview, suggesting that the President may have again pointed fingers at the Obama administration for being so “deep into surveillance” and maybe even wiring the Oval Office.
Based on Deadline‘s quotes from the Fox & Friends appearance, Donald Trump made the remarks right after confirming that he didn’t tape James Comey.
“I didn’t tape him, you never know what’s happening, when you see what the Obama administration, and perhaps longer than that, was doing, all of this unmasking and surveillance and you read all about it and I’ve been reading about it the last couple of months, about the seriousness of the and the horrible situation with surveillance all over the place.”
The mention of the words “unmasking and surveillance” is a callback to Trump’s statements from earlier this month, when he called it the real “big story,” in reaction to subpoenas issued as part of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian officials to rig the 2016 presidential elections. According to the Hill, three of the seven subpoenas issued at that time were centered on the improper “unmasking” of Trump campaign officials, and how their names were published in Obama administration literature during the transition period.
While the Donald Trump tape bluff was the main focus of today’s Fox & Friends appearance, there were other topics discussed by the President, including the close friendship between special counsel and Russia probe leader Robert Mueller and James Comey. Trump said that he’s concerned about this, as well as the presence of several “Hillary Clinton supporters” in the investigation staff, but expressed confidence in Mueller being an “honorable man” who will do the right thing.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]