Trump disputes Comey’s testimony but is too cowardly to call him a liar

Donald Trump hosted a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House on Friday. After questions about Russian aggression, the European Union, and NATO, the conversation turned to James Comey’s Senate testimony.

How we got there is worth noting. Trump called on ABC News’ Jonathan Karl after bragging to Iohannis about the number of reporters in attendance, expressing a desire to sell the spectacle’s broadcasting rights, regurgitating his favorite talking point that television reporters are fake news, and longing for his days as a private citizen.

Oh, I look at those hands up there, president. Do you have this in Romania too? I don’t know. If I could only sell that. If I could only sell it. Who would like to ask? Should I take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news? Should I do that? Huh? Go ahead, Jon. Be fair, Jon. Remember how nice you used to be before I ran? Such a nice man.

Karl ignored the old man’s rambling and posed his question. “I want to get back to James Comey’s testimony,” Karl said. “You suggested he didn’t tell the truth in everything he said. He did say under oath that you told him to let the Flynn, you said you hoped the Flynn investigation, he could let it go.”

Trump responded by accusing his former FBI director of perjury. “I didn’t say that,” Trump said.

Karl pressed: “So he lied about that?”

“Well, I didn’t say that,” Trump said. “I will tell you, I didn’t say that.” He added a disclaimer, “There’d be nothing wrong if I did say it, according to everybody that I’ve read today, but I did not say that.”

After some back and forth, Karl asked Trump whether he’s down to dispute Comey’s testimony in court. “Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?”

“One hundred percent,” Trump declared, before immediately walking back the promise. “I didn’t say under oath.”

Karl attempted to clarify: “So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that?”

“I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you John,” Trump said.

The exchanged caused a stir as pool reporters clamored to confirm whether #45 actually has “tapes” of the Comey dinner that could verify this version of the story.

“Oh, you’re gonna be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry,” Trump said, whatever that means.

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In other news, Trump explicitly affirmed his commitment to NATO’s Article 5, the provision about collective defense, which he refused to do in Brussels, to Europe’s dismay.

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That long-anticipated endorsement will be a footnote, however, to Trump’s cowardly inability to outright call Comey a liar, while still claiming Comey lied before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Hope Iohannis enjoyed himself.

[screen shot: MSNBC]