Over a month after implying he may have secretly taped his meetings with James Comey, US President Donald Trump finally came clean on Thursday, admitting on Twitter that he has no such recordings. The president, however, would not rule out the possibility that a third party might have recorded his conversations with the fired FBI Director.
“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,” Trump declared in a pair of Twitter posts.
…whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
Trump’s admission came six weeks after he teased and tantalized the media that those secret recordings exist by refusing to deny their existence, a prospect which many compared with Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. Shortly after he fired Comey, he ignited a wave of speculation by tweeting: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Not A Threat
The President did not provide any reason as to why he made the suggestion nor waited 41 days to clarify the matter. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday also refused to give an explanation, although she did think Trump did not intend to threaten his ousted FBI chief.
“The president’s statement via Twitter today is extremely clear,” Sanders said during an off-camera briefing at the White House. “I don’t have anything to add beyond the statement itself.” When asked whether tapes of other Oval Office conversations exist, she said: “Not that I’m aware of.”
Comey told lawmakers in his Senate testimony that he kept written records of his conversations with the president over fears that Trump would lie about their encounters.
“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it important to document,” Comey testified on June 8. “That combination of things I had never experienced before, but it led me to believe I gotta write it down and I gotta write it down in a detailed way.”
“Look, I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” he added.