Why is Trump teasing Comey (and us) about taping his conversations?

There is almost universal bewilderment over President Trump raising the possibility that his conversations with James Comey were captured by a recording system he had installed in the White House.  Memories immediately turn to the experience of President Nixon with White House tapes being subpoenaed. That did not end well for Nixon, and raising the possibility that Trump White House conversations could be subject to subpoenas – perhaps from a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in 2019 – has both friends and foes of the president scratching their heads.

One possible explanation is that there is no such system, and Trump is merely using his reality show producer experience to build tension and get a bigger audience when he stages his "reveal" at some point in the future.  Trump is, after all, a showman, and he relishes exercising his skills to the consternation of those wedded to traditional-style D.C. politics.

Ann Coulter last night made a startling contention, speaking to Tucker Carlson: that by raising the possibility of tapes existing, the president forced Comey to change his story and behavior dramatically and confirm that Trump was not under investigation by the FBI, as he did in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Watch below, starting at the one-minute mark if you are impatient:  

Coulter also made the point that the firing of Flynn had been taken as proof of improper collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  But then it turned out that Flynn's contacts were entirely proper.  He was fired for allegedly misleading V.P. Pence about a meeting that had taken place.  When Trump asked Comey to "go easy," he was asking him to treat Flynn better than Trump had been treated: Comey was letting the untrue reports that he was being investigated go unrefuted by the facts in Comey's possession.

Coulter also added a startling point worthy of much further discussion:

[T]he only documented collusion between Russia and Americans during the election was related to the defamatory Trump dossier.

"Whatever happened to that?" Coulter said. "That was a Russian-produced dossier, used by, first, Never Trumpers, then the Hillary Clinton campaign, then the FBI, and broadcast hysterically by CNN. That was a Russian-produced dossier. That is the only evidence we have of Russia trying to collude."

Trump-haters have been contending that "Russia hacked the election" in order to elect Trump.  That has always been an unlikely goal for Putin's lackeys.  Trump's insistence on rebuilding the U.S. military and his support for fracking and other domestic energy production have devastated Russia's exports, which are mainly oil and gas.  The price crash engendered by the fracking revolution has cost Russia dearly, and Hillary's policies would have raised those prices by sticking to greenie policies and curbing American energy production.  Plus, as the Uranium One deal demonstrated, Hillary can be bought.  By the Russians.  

In his Rose Garden press conference yesterday with the President of Romania, President Trump signaled that the media will be "disappointed" when he reveals whether or not tapes exist.  This seems to foreshadow the tapes not existing.  If Coulter's thesis is correct, the tease already forced Comey to change his behavior and be more forthcoming in his testimony.  But what if a taping system does exist?

There are two basic possibilities to consider:

  1. The tapes support President Trump's version of events.
  2. The tapes support Comey.

If number one is true, exposing Comey as doctoring his account would shock Trump's opponents, destroy Comey, and discredit the Trump-haters.

If number two is true, Trump is heading for disaster, handing a gift to his enemies.  Since Trump knows whether a system exists and, if it does, knows what the tapes reveal, it seems highly unlikely that he would behave in such a self-destructive fashion.

Of course, Trump's most vehement critics contend that he is insane.  They have placed their bets.  And the president has promised to reveal whether they are winners or losers in the near future.

I can't know with certainty whether the taping system exists and what the tapes would contain if they do exist.  But since President Trump has been utterly coy and kept the discussion entirely hypothetical, and since a taping system could lead to subpoenas for other conversations, I have a hard time believing that the tapes exist.

But Trump has surprised me so many times in the past that I can't be 100% sure.

There is almost universal bewilderment over President Trump raising the possibility that his conversations with James Comey were captured by a recording system he had installed in the White House.  Memories immediately turn to the experience of President Nixon with White House tapes being subpoenaed. That did not end well for Nixon, and raising the possibility that Trump White House conversations could be subject to subpoenas – perhaps from a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in 2019 – has both friends and foes of the president scratching their heads.

One possible explanation is that there is no such system, and Trump is merely using his reality show producer experience to build tension and get a bigger audience when he stages his "reveal" at some point in the future.  Trump is, after all, a showman, and he relishes exercising his skills to the consternation of those wedded to traditional-style D.C. politics.

Ann Coulter last night made a startling contention, speaking to Tucker Carlson: that by raising the possibility of tapes existing, the president forced Comey to change his story and behavior dramatically and confirm that Trump was not under investigation by the FBI, as he did in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Watch below, starting at the one-minute mark if you are impatient:  

Coulter also made the point that the firing of Flynn had been taken as proof of improper collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  But then it turned out that Flynn's contacts were entirely proper.  He was fired for allegedly misleading V.P. Pence about a meeting that had taken place.  When Trump asked Comey to "go easy," he was asking him to treat Flynn better than Trump had been treated: Comey was letting the untrue reports that he was being investigated go unrefuted by the facts in Comey's possession.

Coulter also added a startling point worthy of much further discussion:

[T]he only documented collusion between Russia and Americans during the election was related to the defamatory Trump dossier.

"Whatever happened to that?" Coulter said. "That was a Russian-produced dossier, used by, first, Never Trumpers, then the Hillary Clinton campaign, then the FBI, and broadcast hysterically by CNN. That was a Russian-produced dossier. That is the only evidence we have of Russia trying to collude."

Trump-haters have been contending that "Russia hacked the election" in order to elect Trump.  That has always been an unlikely goal for Putin's lackeys.  Trump's insistence on rebuilding the U.S. military and his support for fracking and other domestic energy production have devastated Russia's exports, which are mainly oil and gas.  The price crash engendered by the fracking revolution has cost Russia dearly, and Hillary's policies would have raised those prices by sticking to greenie policies and curbing American energy production.  Plus, as the Uranium One deal demonstrated, Hillary can be bought.  By the Russians.  

In his Rose Garden press conference yesterday with the President of Romania, President Trump signaled that the media will be "disappointed" when he reveals whether or not tapes exist.  This seems to foreshadow the tapes not existing.  If Coulter's thesis is correct, the tease already forced Comey to change his behavior and be more forthcoming in his testimony.  But what if a taping system does exist?

There are two basic possibilities to consider:

  1. The tapes support President Trump's version of events.
  2. The tapes support Comey.

If number one is true, exposing Comey as doctoring his account would shock Trump's opponents, destroy Comey, and discredit the Trump-haters.

If number two is true, Trump is heading for disaster, handing a gift to his enemies.  Since Trump knows whether a system exists and, if it does, knows what the tapes reveal, it seems highly unlikely that he would behave in such a self-destructive fashion.

Of course, Trump's most vehement critics contend that he is insane.  They have placed their bets.  And the president has promised to reveal whether they are winners or losers in the near future.

I can't know with certainty whether the taping system exists and what the tapes would contain if they do exist.  But since President Trump has been utterly coy and kept the discussion entirely hypothetical, and since a taping system could lead to subpoenas for other conversations, I have a hard time believing that the tapes exist.

But Trump has surprised me so many times in the past that I can't be 100% sure.

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