“I hardly know the man,” Trump insisted during a news conference alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the White House Rose Garden. “I’m not going to say I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that?”
Trump also accused the former FBI director of saying things that “just weren’t true” in his testimony but added that Comey also “confirmed a lot of what I said.”
“No collusion, no obstruction, he’s a leaker, but we want to get back to running our great country,” Trump said. “Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction.”
Asked if there were tapes of his meetings with Comey, Trump said, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer.”
When pressed on the matter, Trump said: “Well, I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.”
The reporter then asked if Trump would be willing to speak under oath, as Comey did, to give his version of the events.
“100 percent,” Trump replied.
As CNN commentators afterward questioned why Trump couldn’t just come right out and answer the question about tapes, correspondent Dana Bash made a crack referring to Trump’s reality-TV roots: “You’ve got to wait for the next episode!”
The showman and businessman in Trump that revels in ratings and branding and commoditizing was also on full display during Friday’s press conference.
As reporters clamored to be called on, Trump seemed to savor the demand, saying smoothly: “Oh, look at those hands up there … If I could only sell that. If I could only sell that.”
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While he spoke, many on Twitter expressed their incredulity over Trump’s Comey claims.
In his wide-ranging testimony on Thursday, Comey said he kept notes on his meetings with Trump because he feared the president “might lie about the nature” of their talks. He went on to accuse the Trump administration of telling “lies, plain and simple” when they explained his abrupt firing by saying the FBI was unhappy with his job performance.
Comey also confirmed for the first time himself reports that Trump had asked him to pledge his loyalty to him as FBI director.
Trump first spoke out about Comey’s testimony in a tweet Friday morning that claimed “total and complete vindication” and blasted Comey as a “leaker.”