Trump brags about lying on Twitter to influence Comey’s sworn testimony

Trump admits he purposely misled the public about “tapes.”

CREDIT: Fox News screengrab
CREDIT: Fox News screengrab

In President Trump’s first interview in more than a month, he admitted that he falsely suggested his conversations with former FBI director James Comey were taped to influence Comey’s sworn testimony.

Trump acknowledged he didn’t actually make any tapes on Thursday. But speaking to Fox & Friends in an interview that aired Friday morning, Trump said the “tapes” tweet was just a ruse to keep Comey honest.

“When he found out that there may be tapes out there — whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows — I think his story may have changed,” Trump said. “You’ll have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events. And my story didn’t change — my story was always a straight story, my story always was the truth. But you’ll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed, but I did not tape.”

In response to Trump’s comments, interviewer Ainsley Earhardt praised him, saying “it was a smart way to make sure [Comey] stayed honest during those hearings.”

“It wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that,” Trump said. “He did admit that what I said was right. And if you look further back before he heard about [the ‘tapes’ tweet], I think maybe he wasn’t admitting that. So you’ll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that, but I don’t think it’ll be that hard.”

Trump’s public admission that he was trying to influence sworn testimony before Congress could be considered witness intimidation or obstruction.

Trump’s suggestion that he forced Comey to tell the truth also directly contradicts his previously statements. In a tweet posted following Comey’s testimony, Trump characterized the former FBI director as a liar.

During another part of the Fox & Friends interview, Trump expressed annoyance with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, characterizing Mueller’s relationship with Comey as “bothersome.” He went on to assert his innocence of any wrongdoing.

“Look, there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion,” Trump said. “There has been leaking by Comey, but there’s been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that.”

During congressional testimony last month, former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed he’s aware of communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials that sparked concern about possible collusion.

Brennan declined to get into details, saying that specifics about the people involved and what was said remain classified. But he said he “encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals, and it raised questions in my mind whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

That “information and intelligence,” Brennan added, led to the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign, which began in July 2016 and is now being handled by Mueller.

In Trump’s last interview more than a month ago on NBC, he admitted to firing former FBI Director James Comey because of his annoyance with an active investigation into his campaign.