Friday, June 23, 2017


In retrospect, Donald Trump’s impulsive tweet that former F.B.I. director James Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their conversations may have been the beginning of the end of his presidency—or at least one vision of it. Comey, whom Trump had fired just two days earlier, later testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that it was that warning from the president that led him to leak his account of their exchanges, which he had documented in memos. “My judgment was that I needed to get that out into the public square,” he said, adding that he “thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” And it did: special counsel Robert Mueller is now leading the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and is believed to be looking into possible obstruction of justice by Trump, too. This week, Trump conceded that his “tapes” tweet was, as many suspected, a bluff. “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, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” he tweeted Thursday.

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