WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump refused Friday to say whether his private conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey were taped — a matter at the heart of conflicting accounts of what passed between them — and asserted that nothing in Comey’s testimony to the Senate showed collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice.
“He’s a leaker,” Trump said dismissively. “Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction.”
He further denied ever asking Comey for his “loyalty,” contradicting Comey’s detailed allegations in his sworn testimony.
“No I didn’t say that,” Trump stated abruptly, taking questions after meeting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Asked if he would make that denial under oath, he said: “100 percent.”
Trump’s aides have repeatedly dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russia investigation have been recorded, and so did the president.
“Well, I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future,” Trump said. “I’m not hinting anything.” He added: “Oh you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.”
Comey told the Senate of multiple conversations alone with the president, during which he said Trump pressed him to show “loyalty,” to back off on the FBI investigation of aide Michael Flynn and to disclose that Trump himself was not under investigation as the FBI probed Russian interference in the election and ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Comey said he refused on all points, told senators of the detailed memos he had written after his conversations with Trump and said he hoped those conversations were taped because he is confident of their veracity.
Standing with Iohannis, a NATO partner, Trump at last confirmed his commitment to the alliance’s mutual defense pact, Article 5, uttering words he deliberately did not say when he spoke at NATO’s gathering in Belgium last month. On Friday he said he was “committing the United States to Article 5.”