Trump suggests his tweet about tapes kept Comey honest

Trump suggests his tweet about tapes kept Comey honest”

"Well", said Trump, knowing an opportunity when he sees one, "it wasn't very stupid, I can tell you that. He was - he did admit that what I said was right".

His comments came after he finally admitted on Thursday that he does not have "tapes" of his conversations with Comey.

Comey's story actually did not change, and unlike Trump, Comey has those memos to back him up, and now he also has Trump on video saying his testimony before the Senate was truthful. Those notes, shared with close associates and testified about to Congress, would likely be weighed by investigators against Trump's own account of the conversations in any investigation that looks into whether the president tried to obstruct justice.

Comey says any recordings that might exist would support his version that Trump asked him to pledge loyalty and urged him to drop the investigation into Trump's former national security adviser.

Mr Trump's initial Twitter missive about the possibility of tapes triggered a series of consequences, each weightier than the last. Comey credited the tweet with his decision to leak his detailed memos of his interactions with the president to a friend, who then gave the information to the New York Times for publication.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by firing Comey.

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.

Thursday's revelation came a day ahead of a deadline to turn over any tapes to the House intelligence committee.

But the episode exhausted Trump's defenders and aides, who for weeks have been dodging questions about the recordings. He never produced any evidence. In March, he tweeted the incendiary claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, a charge he's never supported.

He's brought trouble to his White House. 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. At the hearing, Comey told the committee "Lordy, I hope there are tapes", giving the President the go-ahead to release the tapes.

Mueller and Comey worked together at the Justice Department in the Bush administration.

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

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