Posted: 2:31 pm Friday, May 12th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
Hours after President Donald Trump raised the possibility that he had recordings of a late January dinner conversation with then-FBI Director James Comey, the White House refused to tell reporters if such tapes existed, or if the President was in fact using recording devices in the Oval Office.
“Did President Trump record his conversations with former FBI Director Comey?”
“I’ve talked to the President, and the President has nothing further to add on that,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
At issue was a morning tweet by the President – warning the former FBI chief against any leaks.
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
“Why did he say that? Why did he tweet that? What should we interpret from that?” Spicer was asked – there was no answer.
“As I mentioned, the President has nothing further to add on that,” as Spicer did not deny any taping has taken place in the Trump White House.
Spicer: Trump’s tweet about Comey and “tapes” is “not a threat” and Trump “has nothing further to add on that” https://t.co/Tp3EW9UQR2
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 12, 2017
On Capitol Hill, Democrats immediately seized on the matter, demanding that the President turn over any tapes to Congress.
“Mr. President, if there are “tapes” relevant to the Comey firing, it’s because you made them and they should be provided to Congress,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) May 12, 2017
“Are there tapes, Donald Trump?” asked Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO). “If so, the American people deserve to hear them.”
The tweet about “tapes” immediately invoked memories of the Oval Office tapes that became a central part of the battle over President Richard Nixon, a taping system that was not known about until being uncovered by hearings on Watergate.
If there are indeed tapes of such conversations, Congress could try to subpoena those for any investigation.
The letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), requested “copies of all recordings in possession of the White House regarding this matter.”
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.