President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he did not have tapes of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
In a previous tweet, Trump had indicated he may have recorded his discussions with Comey in the Oval Office.
Since that tweet, the White House had refused to confirm or deny the existence of such tapes. Press Secretary Sean Spicer would not comment, and Trump said cryptically in a press conference two weeks ago that “maybe sometime in the very near future” he would elaborate on his tweet.
Trump’s indication he may have recorded his conversations with Comey came following reports that the president asked the former FBI director for his loyalty, which Comey declined to give. After leaked details of Comey’s conversations with Trump appeared in news reports, the former FBI director appeared on Capitol Hill to testify about his interactions with the president.
Comey detailed his in-person meetings and phone conversations with Trump, defending his account of events that included the president telling Comey he “hoped” the former FBI director would drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey said he believed the request to be improper.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said during the hearing, indicating he thought any possible recordings would verify his account of his conversations with Trump. The former FBI director created memos of all his interactions with Trump because he thought there was a possibility the president would lie about them.
If any presidential recordings were to exist, their destruction would be a crime.
Trump fired Comey last month, citing the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. The president has decried Russia as “a made-up story” but has been unable to shake the investigation.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.