'Lordy': Comey's prayers not answered, Trump says he has no tapes
President Donald Trump has tweeted that he made no recordings or tapes of his conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey. Trump had said that Comey “better hope there are no tapes” after firing Comey and hearing there were memos of their talks.
After more than a month of speculation about the possibility that tapes exist, Trump admitted Thursday that he did not make any recordings.
...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
In mid-May, Trump abruptly ousted Comey from the bureau. Three days later, amid anonymously sourced reports that disputed Trump's account of an interaction he had with the FBI director, the president tweeted that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
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 led Comey to ask a friend to leak memos that he had written of all of his interactions with Trump to the press, the former FBI director told the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey testified, recalling his reaction to Trump's tweet.
The next day, Trump was asked in an event in the White House Rose Garden if there were tapes. He promised that the answer would be revealed “soon.”
The House Intelligence Committee, one of three organizations investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and potential collusion between the Trump team and Russia, then gave Trump’s legal team two weeks to hand over any recordings of the conversations the president had with Comey.
House Intel sent letter to WH demanding any tape recordings of conversations between President & Comey be preserved, and produced by June 23 pic.twitter.com/6kQYY4EQpR— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 9, 2017
Trump’s admission comes one day before that deadline.
The president has said that he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.” Comey was leading the FBI’s Russia probe. Originally, Trump said that he canned Comey because of recommendations by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein based on Comey’s handling of the investigation into a private email server that Hillary Clinton used while she was secretary of state.
Rosenstein is the Department of Justice official overseeing the FBI’s Russia probe after Sessions recused himself from anything to do with Russia or the Trump campaign.
After Trump fired Comey, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to take over the investigation.