Trump: 'I Did Not Make, And Do Not Have' Recordings Of Comey
President Trump gave a straight answer on Thursday as to whether he has recordings of his private conversations with fired FBI director James Comey — No.
...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) June 22, 2017
The question of the existence of tapes arose on May 12th, when shortly after firing Comey, Trump tweeted the former FBI director "better hope there are no 'tapes' of our conversations."
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
That tweet appeared to come in response to a New York Times article that said during a private dinner at the White House, Trump asked Comey for "loyalty."
Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he told the president he would be "honestly loyal" and that the conversation made him "uneasy." He also said he orchestrated a leak of information from memos he wrote about his recollection from private conversations with the president to trigger the naming of a special counsel, which did follow.
For weeks since that May 12th tweet, Trump and his aides kept the mystery alive, refusing to say whether such recordings actually existed.
Trump was pressed on it by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl during a press conference on June 9.
Q: And you seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.
TRUMP: I'm not hinting anything. I'll tell you about it over a very short period of time.
Q: When is that?
TRUMP: Okay. Do you have a question here?
Q: When will you tell us about the recordings?
TRUMP: Over a fairly short period of time.
Q: Why not now? Are there tapes --
TRUMP: Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don't worry.
"I think the president's statement via Twitter today is extremely clear," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders when pressed by reporters on why the president waited 41 days to clear up whether he had any recordings of Comey.
"You guys asked for an answer. He gave you one. He said he would have it to you by the end of this week, which he did. And beyond timing of that, I can't really speak anything further," Sanders added.
The House Intelligence Committee requested any tapes that might exist be turned over by the White House by Friday, so the president was up against a deadline to deliver an answer.
The president's statement on Twitter went out just two hours after Senate Republicans released a nearly 150-page bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and reshape America's health care system.
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.