President Donald Trump took a straightforward question at a news conference on Thursday and he gave a straightforward answer. Had Trump tried to influence the FBI’s investigation into his short-lived national security advisor by imploring James Comey to cool it? “No. No. Next question,” Trump replied.
The president is not under oath during a news conference — and he has been remarkably facile in turning seemingly concrete statements like “No. No.” into fuzzier ones in the aftermath. (Note: when he said more people had attended his inauguration than had attended any inauguration in history, he was including — he later explained — those who had watched it online.) But if Comey’s much reported memo about Trump’s request to “let [the Flynn investigation] go” is correct, then Trump’s “No. No.” is a falsehood. The issue will remain one man’s word against the other’s, of course, unless the “tapes” Trump hinted he has of his conversations with Comey actually emerge.