Are Robert Mueller & James Comey Friends? Trump Says Their Relationship Is "Bothersome"

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump claimed in a Fox and Friends interview that aired Friday morning that while he did not personally tape his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, he believed he may have been surveilled by unknown outside sources. Trump's original tweet, warning Comey of potential tapes, appeared to be a blatant attempt to intimidate Comey prior to his testifying before Congress.

That left open the possibility that recordings were made without his knowledge or by someone else.

Additionally, the president raised questions about the impartiality of Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who was named special counsel for the Russian Federation investigation after Comey was sacked. When Scott Pelley of CBS News asked him in 2014 if his loyalty belonged to the President, Comey said no.

Trump also reiterated the sentiment he expressed via tweet on Thursday - that he did not make tapes of his and Comey's interactions.

Comey's firing, however, has reportedly led to Mueller investigating Trump over whether he obstructed justice.

Trump fired Comey on May 9.

"Well, it wasn't very stupid", Trump replied, and then went on to imply that Comey was forced to tell the truth because of the threat of tapes.

Another 21 percent said they didn't believe either man, while 8 percent said they believed both.

Trump first raised the idea of a White House recording system last month, in a tweet he sent just three days after firing Comey.

So when Donald Trump made the mistake of musing about "tapes", and left the door hanging open with his tweets, he once again put both his legal team and his White House staff in the terrible position of trying to explain his actions and contain their damage. At a press briefing Thursday, White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was not aware of other recordings.

The two officials said they were surprised at Trump's suggestion and found their interactions with him odd and uncomfortable, but they did not act on the president's requests, CNN reported, citing sources familiar with their accounts.

Another longtime former Justice Department lawyer, American University law school professor William Yeomans, said, "I certainly think Trump's tape bluff contributes to the large, accumulating pile of circumstantial evidence that he meant to impede the Russian Federation investigation". "I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night because it didn't dawn on me originally there might be corroboration, a tape".

Trump said "there's been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that", and he added that some of Mueller's legal team had supported his Democratic rival in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton.

Now, Trump's suggesting there was a strategy behind the mention of "tapes" - to keep Comey honest.

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

  • Leroy Wright