WASHINGTON — After hinting 42 days ago that his meetings with former FBI director James Comey might have been recorded, U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he did not make any tapes of their discussions.
…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) 2017年6月22日
“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,” the president wrote on Twitter.
Trump suggested in a May 12 tweet that he may have recorded his White House conversations with Comey, whom he fired three days before.
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2017年5月12日
Members of Congress and the news media have since demanded he release the recordings, if they existed.
The conversations between Trump and Comey had become a matter of intense interest after Trump said he had been thinking about the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the presidential elections when he ousted Comey.
Comey later alleged that Trump had solicited a pledge of personal loyalty and sought to have him end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
In testimony to Congress this month, Comey expressed hope there were in fact tapes to back up his account.
“I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey told the Senate intelligence committee.
The May tweet had prompted Comey to begin sharing his details of the conversations with the media just before the eventual appointment of a special counsel to lead an independent investigation.
Trump told reporters on June 9 that he would respond to calls for tapes to be released, but warned that they might be “disappointed” with the outcome.
The White House faced questions Thursday about why it took the president so long to clarify whether there were tapes and whether hinting at their existence was a way to threaten Comey.
“The president’s statement via Twitter is extremely clear. I don’t have anything to add beyond the statement itself,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Asked why it took nearly six weeks to say definitively whether they existed, she said, “You asked for an answer, he gave you one.” Trump said he’d give his answer this week and he did, she added.