President Donald Trump on Thursday said he did not make and does not have any “tapes” or recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, ending a nearly six-week saga he kicked off by suggesting in a tweet that such tapes existed.
“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 stated in a pair of tweets on Thursday afternoon.
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Trump’s tweeted announcement, which came a day before a House Intelligence Committee deadline for the White House to produce any such tapes, was drafted with the help of his communications team on Thursday morning, according to a White House official.
While Trump averted an immediate showdown with Congress over the existence of such tapes, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel said he planned to talk to his Republican counterpart, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), about whether it’s necessary to subpoena the White House to be completely sure the president is telling the truth.
“We would hope that we could rely on a statement from the president,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), told reporters. “Unfortunately, the president has indicated in other statements that he is more than willing to play fast and loose with the truth.”
Notably, Trump’s tweets left open the possibility that someone else could have such recordings.
The White House resisted elaborating on the tweets Thursday afternoon, with deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters that the posts are “extremely clear.”