G. E. Wrocklage
June 23, 2017
President Donald Trump is under fire following another incident of the deceitful use of his Twitter handle, @realDonaldTrump. The most recent event of the current POTUS lying via social media, President Trump shot a warning to James B. Comey during his investigation. The former F.B.I. director, Mr. Comey went under investigation after allegations emerged that his 2016 campaign held ties with Russia.
Tensions first developed between Trump and Comey in the early days of Trump’s presidency. In Comey’s written statement, posted to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017, Trump insisted on loyalty. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Comey quoted, following a conversation regarding Comey’s career. The statement discusses the President’s concerns with being monitored by the Russians. Trump requests that Comey “lift the cloud,” (Comey, James B.). Trump appeared frustrated with Comey in the statement as the investigation into the Russian monitors progressed, leading to Comey’s termination.
During Comey’s ongoing investigation into his campaign, Trump posted via Twitter, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press![X]” The tweet has resulted in a multitude of responses, some in support of Trump’s actions, in hopes of Comey revealing the truth; others calling Trump out for unlawful conduct. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded negatively to the threat. “For a president who baselessly accused his predecessor of illegally wiretapping him, that Mr. Trump would suggest that he, himself, may have engaged in such conduct is staggering.” Top Democrats on the judiciary and oversight committees, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland sent a letter to the White House demanding that copies be released. The letter noted, “it is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay or prevent their official testimony,” (Baker, Peter & Shear, Michael D).
Mr. Comey has made no comment. President Trump again took to Twitter, defending himself. “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy![X]” “Maybe,” he added in a secondary post, “the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???[X]”
At an interview which aired on January 23, 2017, President Trump appeared on “Fox & Friends,” where he revealed that he never recorded conversations between him and Comey. He proceeded on to defend his original tweet. “When he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, I think his story may have changed. I mean, you’ll have to take a look at that, because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events,” (Frej, Willa). Trump explained that such a recording could exist, tweeting again, “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking, and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”
This episode of Donald Trump’s presidency has revealed only his paranoia and aggression. Twitter is not a tool in a POTUS’s arsenal to keep the accused honest; nor a place for threats and justification. With President Trump’s addiction to social media, and lack of proper etiquette and research, more incidents like this one are to come in the remaining years of Trump’s presidency.
Baker, Peter & Shear, Michael D. The New York Times. Trump Warning to Comey
Prompts Questions on ‘Tapes’. May 12, 2017.
Comey, James B. Statement for the Record: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
June 8, 2017.
Frej, Willa. Huffington Post. Donald Trump Offers Nearly Incomprehensible Explanation
for Comey Tapes Claims. June 23, 2017.