Trump admits he has no tapes of Comey meetings

More than a month after threatening former FBI Director James Comey with the release of tapes of their conversations in the White House, President Trump said Thursday he does not have any such recordings.

In a pair of tweets, Trump wrote, “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.”

The statements came as the Senate was unveiling a controversial draft health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Days after Trump fired Comey in May, the president warned, also via Twitter, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Thursday, the White House was asked if the president’s original tweet was an attempt to threaten Comey. “Not that I’m aware of,” deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answered.

Although Trump did not record the pair’s conversations, Comey did — but in writing. The ousted FBI director testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that he kept detailed memos on his interactions with Trump and later directed a friend to leak those memos to the press, in hopes that it would trigger the appointment of a special counsel to take over the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election.

President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey. (Photos: Evan Vucci/AP, Susan Walsh/AP)
President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey. (Photos: Evan Vucci/AP, Susan Walsh/AP)

Comey said Trump’s original tweet suggesting there could be tapes of their conversations inspired him to publicize his own memos.

“The president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I better hope there’s not tapes,” Comey said. “I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night because it didn’t dawn on me originally that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape. And my judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn’t do it myself, for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to ‘cause I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Robert Mueller, another former FBI director, was named special counsel to oversee the Russia probe in May.

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