President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to announce that he “did not make” and doesn’t have any recordings of his private conversations with FBI Director James Comey.
“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information,” Trump said he has “no idea” whether there are “tapes” or recordings of the two men’s conversations. But he declares he “did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”
With the President admitting that he does not have any recordings of his meetings with Comey, investigators now have an even bigger interest in the former FBI Director’s memos.
A New York Times report cited two unnamed Comey associates who recounted his version of a January dinner with the President in which Trump asked for a pledge of loyalty. Comey declined, instead offering to be “honest.” When Trump then pressed for “honest loyalty,” Comey told him, “You will have that,” the associates said.
Trump tweeted the following day that Comey “better hope that there are no `tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Trump’s tweets on Thursday has raised questions about why the President would have staked his reputation and political capital on promoting something that wasn’t real.
His earlier suggestion about tapes immediately evoked the secret White House recordings that led to Richard Nixon’s downfall in the Watergate scandal. Under a post-Watergate law, the Presidential Records Act, recordings made by Presidents belong to the people and can eventually be made public. Destroying them would be a crime.
During his Congressional hearing, Comey says any recordings that might exist would support his version that Trump asked him to pledge loyalty and urged him to drop the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey declared at a congressional hearing.