Trump Calls Comey A Liar But Previously Took Credit For Making Him Tell The Truth.
Advance copies of James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, And Leadership began reaching reviewers who quickly began quoting passages. The quotes include Comey’s discussion of the January 2017 meeting where Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into the now convicted Michael Flynn. Trump said “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go . . . he’s a good guy.”
The resurrection of this claim came at a sensitive time for Trump. Reports swirl that Special Prosecutor Mueller is preparing a report that will accuse Trump of obstructing justice in firing Comey after Comey refused to stop the Flynn investigation. The President launched some of his most personal vicious Twitter meltdowns to date (which is saying something).
This kicked off an orchestrated plan by the Republican Party to smear Comey right down a “Lyin Comey” website.
Setting aside the gall of the serial adulterer and Birther attacking the honesty or sliminess of another, let’s examine the claim. What does Trump claim Comey is lying about? Well mostly he claims Comey is lying when Comey says Trump asked him to drop the Flynn investigation. That is what Comey said under oath to Congress that Trump claims he is lying about.
However, there is a problem here. Trump previously took credit for making Comey tell the truth in the very same testimony. To understand this we need to go way back to the notorious “Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations” tweet.
The tweet stoked the smoldering Russiagate investigation into a bonfire. The media and Congress demanded to know whether any such tapes existed. Trump refused to answer, saying he would later. Trump played the American people along for six weeks regarding this ultimately bogus suggestion of tapes. Only in the face of a Congressional subpoena for any such tapes, and on the eve of the deadline for them, did Trump in another pair of tweets finally claim there are not, and never were, any such tapes.
In the interim of those six weeks Comey testified to Congress dropping the bombshell that Trump had asked him to kill the Flynn investigation. Comey also confirmed something Trump claimed earlier, that as Director of the FBI Comey told Trump three times that he was not a target of the investigation.
Trump then cackled that the “better hope there are no tapes” tweet was a clever ruse on his part to make Comey tell the truth. According to Trump, his clever tweet made Comey admit he did tell Trump he was not a target of a collusion investigation, and made Comey admit to leaking the contents of his memos about Comey’s conversations with Trump. On Fox & Friends a giddy Trump bragged about his cleverness:
Trump: “When he found out that I, you know, 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. You’ll have to take a look at that, because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events …”
Ainsley Earhardt: “So it was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings?”
Trump: “Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that.”
Let’s accept Trump’s claim as true. The “tapes tweet” frightened Comey into telling the truth. That means Comey also told the truth when he said Trump demanded a loyalty pledge from him. It means Comey also told the truth when Comey said Trump pressured him to end the Flynn investigation.
Apparently Trump was not swift enough to figure out there was a double edge to the sword he swung. If possible tapes made Comey afraid to lie, compelling him to say things Trump liked, then the things Comey said that Trump didn’t like must also be true because Comey would be afraid tapes would later prove him wrong if they were lies. Trump can’t have one without the other.
Trump, and other Republicans, are just hoping that you are not remembering all that now.
In the meantime, Comey’s book is Amazon’s #1 selling book on just advance sales. It’s #1 even though it cannot be downloaded until April 17th.