Would this count as attempting to intimidate a witness in a criminal investigation?
I don’t even want to guess at it.
That’s some of the talk that’s being floated, as Trump and his team, once again, find a way to step all over themselves.
Initially, the trouble began after information from former FBI Director James Comey’s memos leaked, revealing several uncomfortable private meetings with the president.
One of those meetings saw Trump send everyone out of the room, except Comey, before suggesting to Comey that ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn was a “good guy” and that he hoped Comey could see his way clear to letting Flynn go.
We can assume by “letting Flynn go” he meant stopping the investigation surrounding Flynn.
If we’re honest, that’s what we can assume.
Trump answered that news with a tweet.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Comey seemed to have no fear at the thought of tapes, and even said he hoped there were tapes, as he sat before the Senate Intelligence Agency on June 8.
Of course, investigators then wanted to know more about those tapes, and gave Trump until June 23, 2017 to produce them.
Trump revealed he was lying bluffing on June 22.
…whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
Then he took an insane victory lap.
Trump has praised his own handling of the situation, most recently in an interview with Fox News.
“He did admit that what I said was right, and if you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn’t admitting that. So I think maybe you’ll need to do a little investigative reporting to determine that, but I don’t think it will be that hard,” he said.
He wanted Comey to admit he wasn’t under investigation. That’s not that big of a deal. At that time, nobody was saying Trump, directly, was under investigation. The only ones in the hot seat were certain members of his campaign team.
Of course, in his efforts to get Comey to admit he wasn’t under investigation (as well as attempts to get him to give Michael Flynn a pass, Trump bungled his way right into an obstruction case.
He wasn’t under investigation – until he was.
So the new layer is the threat of tapes, and his happy admission that he was using that lie bluff to “keep Comey honest.”
Comey never said anything different. His testimony did not change.
And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on Trump’s admission, earlier Sunday.
“He knew that the truth would come out, and I think he’s glad that the truth is coming out, that he had said very clearly that on three occasions he was told he was not under investigation, there was no obstruction, and he was right,” Spicer told Howard Kurtz on Fox News’s “Media Buzz.”
“And I think that having Director Comey come out and admit under oath and testimony proves that the president was right,” he continued.
Except no one has said there was no obstruction, yet. That’s still under investigation. That’s never what the original investigation was about, to begin with.
The “truth” that came out was that there were no tapes. Where Trump and his team may be screwing the pooch is in proudly admitting they used the threat of tapes to manipulate Comey’s testimony.
I’m past the point of being surprised by the amateur hour that exists in the White House now. If new charges crop up this week, nobody else should be surprised, either.