Trump's Tape Tweet Was About 'Raising The Question Of Doubt'

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not make and does not possess any tapes of his conversations with James Comey, after suggesting last month he might have recordings that could damage the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director. While testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 about his conversations with Trump and whether he was aware of any tapes that the president mentioned, Comey said, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes".

One clear effect of Trump's tweet on Thursday means that the accounting of what happened in conversations between the President and Comey now relies on one man's word against the other. The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director has only offered his story publicly once, in testimony before the Senate intelligence committee, although his associates provided some details to the news media before that.

But the tweet had serious repercussions for the President: The fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director testified earlier this month that Trump's message caused him to leak the bombshell content of a memo to the media through a professor at Columbia University.

"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", Trump tweeted.

Mark Warner of Virginia, top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said the tweeting is an example of Trump's "willingness to just kind of make things up".

The statement ended speculation about whether the President recorded conversations in the Oval Office. "Oh you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer", he added as reporters kept lobbing more tape questions.

The official, along with a Republican who talked to Trump this week, said the President has been amused at all the obsessing over this.

Mr Comey subsequently leaked the contents of memos made after his discussions with the President, during which he claims Mr Trump attempted to pressure him into dropping the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday she didn't think Trump regretted the initial tweet. "I don't know how this serves the country's interests".

Under a post-Watergate law, the Presidential Records Act, recordings made by presidents belong to the people and can eventually be made public.

But the episode exhausted Trump's defenders and aides, who for weeks have been dodging questions about the recordings. He doesn't come back and think about Nixon and Watergate.

  • Leroy Wright