Trump suggests he was trying to keep FBI director honest

by Abel Hampton June 27, 2017, 7:22

"I can tell you that he did admit that what I said was right", Trump said, referring to Comey's initial refusal during his tenure to say the president himself wasn't under investigation in the FBI's probe.

Trump suggested that Comey's "story may have changed" after he found out that Trump might have taped their conversations.

The comments of both Trump and Spicer on the intent of the tapes raises the specter of witness intimidation.

Asked whether Mueller should step down from the investigation because of his friendship with Comey, Trump says, "We're going to have to see".

"Was there an intent to harass or intimidate or block Jim Comey from testifying?"

Fox News Channel released excerpts late Thursday after interviewing the president at the White House.

But the tweet alone set off a series of events resulting in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's announcing his decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russian Federation investigation, and the House Intelligence Committee's issuing a bipartisan request demanding the White House hand over any recordings that could be pertinent to its own investigation.

Mueller and Comey served together in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration.

If Mueller finds there is sufficient evidence of obstruction of justice, he can decide whether to prosecute the case.

The President has disputed Comey's version of a January dinner during which the president asked for a pledge of loyalty, according to Comey.

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said Trump's tweet made him give his memos of meetings with Trump to a friend.

Trump's statement brings to an end speculation that began shortly after accounts emerged about the president's exchanges with Comey - speculation the president himself began with a post on Twitter that warned the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director that there might have been tapes of their conversations.

Warner says: "It's remarkable the president was so flippant to make his original tweet and then frankly stonewall the media and the country for weeks".

Trump also tweets that he has "no idea" whether other "tapes" or recordings exist. Destroying them would be a crime. You been hearing the word unmasking, a word you've probably never heard before, so you never know what's out there and I didn't tape and I don't have any tape and I didn't tape.

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Ken Thomas and Deb Riechmann contributed reporting.

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