26 June, 2017
Trump suggested that Comey's "story may have changed" after he found out that Trump might have taped their conversations.
There will be a temptation to laugh this episode off as yet another example of Trump just being Trump and to not take it very seriously (after all, his cult often tells us he is not to be taken literally).
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.
But the president's suggestion that his tweet influenced Comey to be truthful in recounting his conversations contradicts Trump's own assertion that Comey misled Congress.
The president's tweets on Thursday left open the possibility that the conversations may have been taped without his knowledge.
By party, 76 percent of Democrats side with Comey, while 50 percent of Republicans believe Trump. "He's not a professional politician".
"It's remarkable the president was so flippant to make his original tweet and then frankly stonewall the media and the country for weeks", Warner said. "He knows how to play to America's insatiable appetite not just for news but for drama and interest".
He's brought trouble to his White House. Unless they have Trump serve out the remainder of his presidency in the PEOC, strapped to a hand-truck with a Hannibal Lecter mask, he will continue to be his own worst public relations enemy. At the hearing, Comey told the committee "Lordy, I hope there are tapes", giving the President the go-ahead to release the tapes. He offered to help rebuild the World Trade Center in 2004 but never followed through. He never produced any evidence. On New Year's Eve, he claimed he knew "things that other people don't know" about foreign hacking of last year's election, and that the information would be revealed "on Tuesday or Wednesday". In that meeting, according to the memo, Trump told Comey he hoped he would let the Flynn investigation go.
Obstruction of justice falls under multiple federal statutes, but is defined as someone who "corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States".
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Ken Thomas and Deb Riechmann contributed reporting.