So on Thursday we learned that Donald Trump does not in fact have tapes of his conversations with the FBI Director he definitely didn’t fire for investigating the administration’s ties to the Kremlin.
And that’s too bad. Because it sure as shit would have been funny to listen to Trump actually say “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”
Of course we all knew he was bluffing. James Comey certainly knew it even though, like the rest of us, he was really hoping the recordings existed (“Lordy, I hope there are tapes”).
As we wrote when Trump admitted he didn’t record his interactions with Comey, this was a bluff gone horribly awry. One reader suggested it was a “free roll” and in a certain sense that’s accurate. But do consider our response to that reader’s comment:
Well, unless credibility counts.
“It wasn’t just another bluff from Trump; it was another bluff that was called and that continued to chip away at Trump’s honesty and credibility, for no discernible benefit,” WaPo wrote this afternoon, underscoring our point before adding that “Trump appears to have not only done something dishonest that undermines his credibility going forward, but it didn’t even work.”
And of course this being Trump, he made things immeasurably worse by pretending as though his initial “tapes” tweet was actually just him speculating on the possibility that because the “deep state” is out to get him, it’s conceivable his conversations with Comey were picked up on some kind of surveillance he didn’t know was in place.
Here are the tweets:
Well consider that along with the following amusing bit from The Daily Beast:
After a cascading series of controversies created in large part by Donald Trump’s Twitter account, the president took to his preferred medium again on Thursday to float another conspiracy theory: the Oval Office itself could be under surveillance.
Trump ended speculation on Thursday about whether he had installed a recording device in the Oval Office and made “tapes” of his conversations with former FBI director James Comey, a possibility he first raised in another tweet in early May. “I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” he wrote.
But then, unprompted, he floated another possibility: U.S. intelligence or law enforcement officials might have his office bugged. “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey,” Trump wrote.
It was a bizarre suggestion that took some in the White House off guard. “No clue what the thinking was,” a White House staffer said of the tweets. “He could’ve just said there are no tapes. It’s baffling, frankly.”
Instead of putting the “tape” issue to rest and leave it at that, Trump’s statements threaten to embroil the White House in yet another round of politically inconvenient questioning about issues—Comey’s firing, the FBI’s probe into Russian election-meddling, and Trump’s reported efforts to hobble it—that the White House has tried, with little success, to move past.
Informed of the president’s denial that he had recorded his conversations with Comey, a senior administration official replied, “At least that’s behind us.” When alerted to his apparent suspicions of Oval Office surveillance, the official replied in a text message, “fml.”
That’s shorthand for “fuck my life.”