President Donald Trump woke up this morning with thoughts in his head he needed to get out on Twitter while the morning shows were still on. He suggested that we can’t expect “perfect accuracy” from his surrogates, like spokespeople Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and that the press briefings should be cancelled if we want perfection.
Then, he wrote that fired FBI Director James Comey has to hope there are no “tapes” of his conversations with the president, which Trump effectively threatened to leak if Comey starts talking to the press.
First, Trump again insisted that the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election is “fabricated” by the Democrats, seeking an “excuse for losing the election.”
Next, he wrote that the “Fake Media is working overtime today,” just hours after he spoke with NBC News’ Lester Holt.
Next, there was one thought spread over two tweets. “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy! … Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”
These appear to be explanations for why Trump contradicted Sanders and even Vice President Mike Pence in his interview with Holt. During the interview, Trump said he had been thinking of firing Comey before the Justice Department memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested he do so. But Sanders and Pence said that Trump fired Comey because of the recommendation from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Let me be very clear that the president’s decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interests of the American people and to ensuring that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people this nation,” Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Trump contradicted that, telling Holt he would have fired Comey “regardless of recommendation.”
In the second tweet, Trump suggests cancelling all future press briefings, which he has in quotation marks, and instead handing out written responses. Of course, this would force media outlets – if any of them agreed to do so – to hand in questions and the White House could chose whether or not they want to answer them.
The Friday morning tweet storm continued with Trump effectively threatening to release “tapes” of conversations he had with Comey if Comey starts talking to the press. In his interview with Holt, Trump admitted that he asked Comey directly if he was under investigation. He claims Comey told him, “‘You are not under investigation.'” Legal experts later told NBC News that it’s “improper” for the target of an FBI investigation to ask the FBI about it directly.
“I don’t see it as a conflict of interest,” Sanders told the press on Thursday when asked about those conversations. “We’ve talked to several — again, several — legal scholars have weighed in on this and said that there was nothing wrong with the president asking that question.”
In another tweet, Trump again wanted to know when the Russian investigation would go away, even though his administration has said Trump fired Comey because of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Trump has repeatedly said that James Clapper, President Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, has said there was no collusion. Clapper did tell Meet the Press in March that he didn’t know of any collusion, but Clapper said on Monday that the the FBI didn’t share details about ongoing counterintelligene investigations with him, so he wouldn’t have known about an investigation if there was one.
After missing two consecutive press briefings, Press Secretary Spicer will be back at the podium today. His press conference starts at 1:30 p.m. ET.