Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Donald Trump says he won't fire 'bothersome' Robert Mueller

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Francis Olson | 25 June, 2017, 18:19

President Donald Trump suggested he was just trying to keep fired FBI Director James Comey honest with his cryptic tweet implying there might be recordings of their private conversations.

"I mean, you will have to take a look at that because, then, he has to tell what actually took place at the events", the president added. "The Minority Leader even tried to say that the Senate shouldn't vote on the Supreme Court nomination because the president was under investigation".

Earlier on Thursday, Trump said he did not record any of his meetings with Comey after claiming that he got hold of records that would sabotage Comey's findings and claims.

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.

"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 also said Thursday.

Trump, in the Fox News Channel interview, did not say exactly what he thought had changed about Comey's story.

Comey was overseeing the investigation until Trump fired him last month out of frustration with the inquiry. That special counsel, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, is now reportedly investigating Mr Trump's own actions in a probe that could dog his presidency for the foreseeable future.

"There's been no collusion, no obstruction and virtually everybody agrees to that", Trump told Fox, adding that Mueller "is an honorable man and hopefully he'll come up with an honorable solution". "You know, health care is a very hard situation".

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According to one person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Trump raised the possibility of tapes as a strategy to ensure that Comey told the truth, even though Trump now is suggesting that did so because he couldn't be sure there were no recordings made by others.

Minutes later, in an official release from his office, Schiff said the White House "must respond in writing" to the committee "as to whether any tapes or recordings exist". Destroying them would be a crime.

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. He never produced any evidence.

Trump continued: "My story didn't change". In March, he tweeted the incendiary claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, a charge he's never supported.

Comey, on the other hand, wrote detailed memos immediately after his conversations with Trump and distributed them to associates.

President Trump would have known that his bullying bluff would fail if he understood how principled people like Comey work.

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

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