President Donald Trump flatly denied tape recording former FBI Director James Comey during their meetings in the White House, but also said "you never know what's happening" when other administrations were conducting "unmasking and surveillance."
He also called a friendship between Comey and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the counsel leading the investigation into possible connections between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, "very bothersome" in an interview airing Friday on Fox News.
"You read all about it and I've been reading about it, the last couple of months, the seriousness and horrible situation with surveillance all over the place," Trump told "Fox and Friends" co-anchor Ainsley Earhardt about Comey during an interview, alongside First Lady Melania Trump, at the White House on Thursday.
The comments followed a tweet from the president Thursday, where he also denied taping Comey, ending weeks of speculation after a Twitter warning that Comey had "better hope" there were no "tapes" of their conversations.
"When he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed," Trump told Earhardt. "I mean, you will have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events."
Trump, though, said his story didn't change and was "always a straight story."
"My story was always the truth," Trump said. "But you'll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But, I did not tape [Comey]."
Earhardt commented that Trump's tweet was a "smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings," and Trump agreed - "it wasn't very stupid."
"I can tell you that he did admit that what I said was right," said Trump. "If you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn't admitting that so, you'll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that. But, I don't think it will be that hard."
Meanwhile, Trump said he thinks the friendship between Comey and Mueller is "very bothersome," but stopped short of calling for Mueller's recusal.
"He is very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome," said Trump. "But he is also, we are going to have to see."
Trump denied there has been any obstruction of justice when it comes to the Russia investigation or any collusion with Moscow.
"There has been leaking by Comey," the president said, referring to Comey's testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he provided a friend with a memo detailing one of his meetings with Trump, and that the contents of the memo were described to The New York Times in hopes of bringing in a special counsel.
"I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters," Trump told Earhardt. "Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth from that standpoint. But, Robert Mueller is an honorable man, and hopefully he will come up within a honorable solution."
Mueller and Comey worked together in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration, and the president and his allies have been calling the special counsel's investigative team into question because it consists of several people who have made donations to former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and other Democrats.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of Trump's key allies, has complained often about Mueller and his team, including tweeting that the former FBI director is the tip "of the deep state spear aimed at destroying or at a minimum undermining and crippling the Trump presidency.”
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