President Donald Trump on Friday suggested his tweet suggesting that there might be tapes of his conversations with then-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey were aimed at pressuring the official to admit he had told the president that he wasn't under investigation.
Donald Trump's idiocy is exceeded only by his ego, as ably demonstrated by the saga of the imaginary James Comey tapes.
Mr Trump's declaration now that there are no recordings appears to settle a key dynamic in that investigation - it is now the president's word against Mr Comey's notes.
Trump disputed Comey's testimony that he felt pressured by the president to drop the FBI's investigation of fired national security adviser Mike Flynn, as well as Comey's account that the president asked for loyalty from him.
The president's tweets on Thursday left open the possibility that the conversations may have been taped without his knowledge. He then added that "there has been leaking by Comey".
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.
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes", Comey declared at a congressional hearing.
"Well, it wasn't very stupid".
"He's very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome, but he's also - we're gonna have to see", Trump said when asked if he is going to fire Mueller in an excerpt published Thursday evening.
This is not the first time that Trump, the former star of reality TV and tabloids, has manufactured a melodrama that begins with bluster but often ends with a whimper. And if you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn't admitting that, so, you'll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that. And his embrace of birtherism, which questioned whether Obama was born in the United States and was eligible to become president, fueled his own political rise.
The pattern has continued since Trump's election.
But other times he has not. Those days came and went without an answer.
"He follows the paradigm that no news is bad news", said Sam Nunberg, a former campaign aide.
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