White House still refuses to say whether Trump taped conversations

Key Points
  • The White House won't confirm or deny if President Trump recorded James Comey.
  • Trump said Comey "better hope" there are no "tapes" of their conversations.
  • Bipartisan lawmakers have urged the White House to turn over any possible tapes.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel to Atlanta from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S, April 28, 2017.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

As Democratic and Republican members of Congress called on the Trump administration to release any possible recordings it made of former FBI Director James Comey, the White House still would neither confirm nor deny Monday if such tapes even exist.

On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted that Comey — whom he fired last week — "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations." The tweet came after a New York Times report that Trump asked Comey — who as FBI director was supposed to be independent of the White House — for his loyalty at a January dinner. Comey would not make a pledge of loyalty, the newspaper said, citing people who have heard his account of the meal.

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Trump fired Comey as the FBI was investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia. U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that the Kremlin interfered with the U.S. presidential election in an attempt to shape its outcome. Trump last week told NBC News that he decided to fire Comey while considering "this Russia thing."

On Monday, press secretary Sean Spicer dodged several questions about any possible tapes for a second consecutive briefing.

"I think I made it clear last week that the president has nothing further on that," Spicer told reporters.

Spicer said that he "made it clear what the president's position is on that issue," without saying exactly what the president's position is.

Trump's tweet about possible Comey "tapes" only intensified concerns that he could try to affect the FBI investigation, which is still ongoing. Democrats have called for an independent inquiry.

Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged the White House to release any recordings. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that if tapes exist, "they need to be turned over."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also urged the Trump administration to give any tapes to Congress.

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