Trump Threatens Comey: You Better Hope There Aren’t ‘Tapes’ Of Our Conversation

President Trump continued his tweetstorm this morning with what can only be called a threat directed at the former Director of the F.B.I.:

So basically we have Trump doing two things here. First of all, he’s issuing a direct threat to James Comey, in apparent reference to reports that people close to Comey are saying that Trump’s version of events regarding a meeting between the two wasn’t close to the truth. Second, is he implying that he’s recording conversations in the White House with some kind of Nixon-like taping system? The mere fact that he’s suggesting it means that this question must now be asked as part of any ongoing investigation, and that if any such tapes exist they must be subpoenaed and turned over just like Nixon’s eventually were.

Like I said, we’re only at Day 113………..or, as I put it on Twitter:

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Scott says:

    The more pressure put on Trump, the less he hides his true nature which is an insecure bully and a coward.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    Maybe he thinks Obama is still tapping his conversations.

  3. CSK says:

    Trump really is profoundly stupid, isn’t he? We all knew that, of course, but every day he does or says something to make it even more breathtakingly obvious.

  4. Jen says:

    This White House is really descending into a level of chaos that Dante would be left struggling to describe.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Kevin Drum is floating the theory that Trump has (normal onset) dementia. But I swear the guy acts and talks like someone with a 50+ year history of drugs and alcohol abuse. And I’ve known a few. I accept that he doesn’t drink on the sly, or he would have been found out by now, but what about prescription drug abuse? He’s got that really skeezy doctor…

  6. CSK says:

    You know how presidents are said to “grow in office”? I have this vision of Trump dwindling down to an enraged homunculus rampaging through the halls of the WH, with dozens of staffers chasing after him with nets.

  7. Mark Ivey says:

    And now this season of “The West Wing” finally goes full-bore whiskey madness and substance abuse. *SNIFF*

  8. CSK says:


    Maybe Hieronymus Bosch could paint it.

  9. James Pearce says:

    Comey should say absolutely nothing to the press. Whatever battle Trump is preparing for, he’s preparing for it to be fought in the press, not in a courtroom.

    And something like this belongs in a courtroom.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    This is like the “Mr. Rogers” problem for comedians. During the 70’s and 80’s there was a children’s entertainer by that name who had a very distinct way of talking and acting. (I’m not mocking him – from all accounts he was a wonderful role model for young children, and adults for that matter.) He was a part of the childhood of many of the comedians at the time and therefore ripe for parody. But my recollection was that they mostly failed, because the go-to device of comics, exaggeration, was essentially impossible. He was of such a unique type that most attempts at exaggeration fell short of the reality and the ones that pushed past it just seemed mean and ridiculous. I think this Trump administration falls into the same category. Whether for comedy or tragedy, the obvious mental instability, the endless self aggrandizement, the obvious self enrichment of him and his family, and the painful-to-watch selingl out of the country by Republican leadership just defies fictionalization.

  11. J-Dub says:


    they mostly failed

    Until Eddie Murphy came along with “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood”.

  12. @J-Dub:

    Fred Rogers was still alive when Murphy was doing that and he was asked if Murphy’s comedy offended him in any way. He said that he wasn’t and that he actually found it quite funny and that, since it was on late at night, it was unlikely that the young audience his show appealed to likely wasn’t watching it anyway.

  13. Moosebreath says:


    “Until Eddie Murphy came along with “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood”.”

    And as Mr. T said in one of the sketches, the word for the day is “PAIN”!

  14. Hal_10000 says:

    As I said in the other thread, Trump thinks he’s Michael Corleone but he’s actually Fredo.

  15. Paul L. says:

    Trump confessed to illegally wiretapping Comey. A FBI Agent/
    It is against the Law to report FBI Agents.

  16. Argon says:

    Call the bluff, Comey!

  17. CSK says:


    “I’m smart! I can handle things!”

  18. Gustopher says:

    It’s like Trump is trying to invoke images of Watergate deliberately, but without any understanding of what happened in Watergate…

    And why does he put “tapes” in quotes? Weird incompetence, or is he just being clear that while there are recordings, which we might colloquially call tapes, the recordings are actually entirely digital and uploaded to the cloud, so there are no actual tapes?

  19. Kylopod says:


    But my recollection was that they mostly failed, because the go-to device of comics, exaggeration, was essentially impossible.

    I’ve been making a similar point about Trump, that he’s essentially parody-proof because he’s too much of a walking parody himself. The most telling moment for me was the way SNL handled his remark “Nobody has more respect for women than I do” at the third debate–it simply had Baldwin repeating the line verbatim, then it showed the entire planet laughing. That was the entire “joke.”

    I never thought of Mr. Rogers as falling into the same category, especially since I’ve been aware of “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” since I was a kid. I suppose Rogers was so beloved it didn’t feel right to do the kind of scathing satire we usually expect from SNL, but that’s a rather different sort of problem.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Speculating about what Trump meant is a waste of time. Kevin Drum this morning asks,

    can someone tell me WTF Donald Trump is talking about here?

    “You’re going to have absolute guaranteed coverage. You’re going to have it if you’re a person going in…don’t forget, this was not supposed to be the way insurance works. Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance.

    But I believe it’s very important to have this. Because one thing Obamacare did, is it gave that and it was a concept that people hadn’t heard of. And now I don’t want to end it. I don’t want to end it for somebody that…first of all I don’t want to end it for the people that already have it. And I don’t want to end it for somebody that hasn’t been buying insurance for all of his life where he has a guarantee that for all of his life he’s been buying the insurance and he can buy it inexpensively when he turns 65 or 70 years old. So we put in a tremendous amount and we’re…you know, for the pre-existing conditions. We are going to have a great pool for pre-existing conditions.”
    For which see above: @MarkedMan:

  21. Joe says:

    It suddenly dawned me: At some point early after the election, someone reminded Trump that his phones in Trump Tower were recording phone calls (for whatever purpose), but in that sentence, “good for you to be taping, Mr. President,” referred to Trump as Mr. President – Trump quickly did a double take, looking over both shoulders, assuming that the speaker was talking to or referring to Obama.

  22. Janis Gore says:
  23. Monala says:

    @gVOR08: I guess he’s thinking of a 20-year-old who purchases a life insurance policy at an age where the rate would be very low, thus (if maintained) locking into a very low rate for life. Yeah, health insurance doesn’t work life that, and never has.

  24. JohnMcC says:

    Lengthy and credible sounding article on the home page of the WaPo by Phillip Bump contending that it’s very likely that there actually are recording devices that could have recorded that dinner.

  25. Paul L. says:

    BREAKING: Top House Dems to White House: We Need ‘Tapes’ & All Communication between Trump & Comey

    Same people who defended Obama’s Executive Privilege.for Holder’s communications about Fast and Furious.

  26. Hal_10000 says:

    Trump is now saying there were no tapes. I knew we couldn’t be that lucky.

  27. Kari Q says:



    What amuses me is that if there were tapes, and they proved that Trump’s description was accurate (which might be a first), then it would mean more trouble for Trump than Comey, and Trump doesn’t seem to recognize this and apparently no one on his staff or in his family can make him understand it.

  28. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Once again, on day 113, the 297th jumping of the shark by the POTUS. Heck, he’s jumped Fonzie AND the shark! And the Russian judge scores the skater a perfect 10!!!

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @Kari Q: The Trumpskyites heard him say he can put down Comey if Comey challenges him. That Trump’s claim is patently BS doesn’t matter.

  30. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Paul L.: Same rules, too; that was then, this is now. It IS all partisan theater, and you have you to thank for it.

  31. Bob@Younsgtown says:

    So basically we have Trump doing two things here….

    I would add to that: Trump is implying that Comey is not going to tell the truth (‘he’s a liar’) and also that Comey will ‘leak’ that lie.

    So much contained in a simple tweet.