So much for those “tapes.”
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he did not make, nor does he have, recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. He said he had “no idea” if any such recordings exist.
More than a month ago, Trump sent the tweet that started consistent speculation about whether he recorded conversations with Comey, whom he abruptly fired last month. Three days after Comey’s ouster, and following a New York Times report that first revealed Comey’s accusation that Trump asked him for loyalty, the president tweeted that “Comey better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
The White House then went more than a month without confirming or denying if the “tapes” existed.
It follows a pattern of Trump suggesting he had explosive evidence or documents before failing to produce them. In the most recent instance, he accused the Obama administration of wiretapping Trump Tower and suggested he had information to back it up, but never did.
The possible existence of tapes became more significant after Comey testified that Trump asked him for loyalty — something an FBI director does not owe a president — and made a statement that he understood as a request to “drop” a probe into former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey also said he believes that Trump fired him because of the Russia investigation and admitted to being the source of news reports about his conversations with the president.
Comey based his testimony on memos he wrote after one-on-one conversations with Trump. Following the president’s tweet about “tapes,” Comey shared the contents of one memo with a friend, who shared it with The New York Times.
During his testimony, Comey said, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Earlier this month, Trump told reporters they would be “disappointed” when they found out whether tapes existed.