Ever since Trump’s tweet early this morning warning former FBI Director Comey that he “better hope” there aren’t tapes of his conversation with Trump, that question has become the main focus of the media. Are there tapes? Does the White House have a recording system like the one Nixon installed? Etc… But according to reports from several news agencies, former Director Comey is not worried about the possibility of there being any tapes:
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) May 12, 2017
In addition, CNN is reporting something very similar from a source close to Comey:
Former FBI Director James Comey is “not worried about any tapes” of conversations between him and President Donald Trump, a source familiar with the matter told CNN Friday, adding that “if there is a tape, there’s nothing he is worried about” that could be on it.
The story goes on to note that Comey was genuinely surprised he didn’t at least get a phone call saying he was fired. “The way (Trump) did it was remarkable,” the source tells CNN.
Assuming these reports are accurate, it’s a safe bet that unnamed sources aren’t speaking to CNN and NBC News without Comey’s approval. In other words, Comey is letting everyone know that he’s not intimidated by the president’s warning. On the contrary, he’s calling Trump’s bluff. Trump warned him not to leak and in response we have two “leaks” about what Comey is thinking.
I get the sense that Trump didn’t put much time into thinking this through. Even if he has something embarrassing on tape, releasing it now only adds more fuel to the already blazing speculation about why Trump fired Comey in the first place. Having the president go after someone who isn’t even in office anymore will only make this seem more personal. It gives the media more reason to ask: Why is Trump doing this?
Finally, someone in the White House ought to be thinking about Trump’s poll numbers and his agenda. If the president wants to start a war with Comey on the front lawn of the White House the media will be happy to oblige, but it’s definitely not going to help his administration get things done.