That Seems Like a Bad Idea…

Via CNN:  Trump: I’m willing to testify under oath about Comey claims.

“One hundred percent,” Trump said when asked about his willingness to deliver sworn testimony.

(Of course, it also sounds like false bravado).

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. As a general rule I would say that this is a bad idea for Separation Of Powers reasons. As far as I know, it has only happened once in American history, when President Ford testified regarding his pardon of Nixon. And that testimony was not under oath.

  2. James Pearce says:

    But will he release the tapes?

  3. @Doug Mataconis: In truth, I am not sure under what conditions this would even happen. Certainly he isn’t going to testify before Congress, and there is no relevant court proceeding. As I say: false bravado.

    (Clinton did testify in the Starr investigation).

  4. @James Pearce: To that I can only say: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”

  5. @James Pearce:

    He keeps refusing to confirm or deny their existence. Someone — either Mueller, or one of the Intelligence Committees — needs to subpoena them to confirm whether or not the exist.

  6. reid says:

    @Doug Mataconis: They’re safely locked away with the shocking Obama birth certificate private investigator findings. And a bunch of unicorn horns.

  7. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @reid: Naw! Trump doesn’t have any private investigator findings; that’s just a silly fantasy!

  8. Todd says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Someone — either Mueller, or one of the Intelligence Committees — needs to subpoena them to confirm whether or not the exist.

    What happens if President Trump starts off by refusing to turn over the “tapes” or some other inane strategy such as claiming executive privilege for the “tapes”?

    If in the end, there turns out (as expected) to be no actual tapes, could President Trump be putting himself in any additional potential legal jeopardy by being “cute” with investigators about their existence?

    To pretend in a press conference that there might be “tapes” (which almost certainly don’t exist) is one thing … although it wouldn’t even make the top 10 blatant lies he’s told to the public. But if his response is anything other than “they don’t exist” if/when that subpoena does come, is it lying to federal investigators?

  9. CSK says:

    The House Intelligence Committee has asked for the tapes.

  10. CSK says:

    I really don’t think that Trump understands that when he says something, he’s going to be held to it.

  11. rachel says:

    @CSK: Why would he? it’s never happened in any meaningful way before.

  12. Hal_10000 says:

    And now we see why his staff stole his phone, unplugged the router, had the CIA abduct the Comcast rep and duct-taped him to a chair during the hearing yesterday.

  13. CSK says:


    Perhaps because he’s never had his flabby derriere hauled before a committee before this. All he’s had to do prior to this point is make non-existent promises to the drooling idiots who follow him around like deranged basset hounds.

  14. DrDaveT says:


    I really don’t think that Trump understands that when he says something, he’s going to be held to it.

    Do you have any empirical evidence that he will be held to it? He never has before, and I don’t see any real signs of it happening any time soon.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    As is typical of most bullies, the Orange Mange is also a coward…of course he will never testify about Comey’s claims, and there probably aren’t any tapes of their conversations either…more bullshit from the worst liar ever to sit in the Oval Office…

  16. Gustopher says:

    Even if he went through with it, is it really such a bad idea?

    Is perjury worse than the obstruction of justice which he pretty clearly committed? Or the mild treason many suspect?

    And, even if it were worse, prosecutors would still have to prove intent, would they not? Has anyone tried the defense of “my client has a basic inability to distinguish between facts and lies that he has told, and at the time he made these statements, he was quite convinced they were true” defense? He wouldn’t be lying by that time, he would simply be mistaken.

  17. Jen says:

    He has a track record of lying under oath, as was detailed in (I think?) Newsweek in an article that came out during the election. Why this would be any different, I have no idea.

    I’ve wondered about the being cute with the existence/non-existence of tapes too. He really seems to treat everything like a half-formed joke.

  18. HankP says:

    It will never happen. His own lawyers sent two attorneys at a time to interview him because he would lie to his own attorneys.

  19. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I just wrote about the whole President testifying thing. It would appear that the only time a President has testified in a formal Congressional hearing is when President Ford appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in October 1974 to answer questions about his pardon of Nixon. Ford was not required to take an oath before testifying, though.

  20. @Doug Mataconis: Just to clarify: I was not suggesting that Clinton testified to Congress He did testify under oath during the Starr investigation–but not to Congress.

    There is no way in the world any President is likely to do that.