President Donald Trump denied on Thursday having surreptitiously recorded conversations with James Comey, whom the president fired from his post as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation last month.
In two posts on Twitter, the president rejected the notion that he had created audio tapes documenting exchanges with the former FBI boss—a possibility he himself had raised in the day’s following Comey’s dismissal.
“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,” he wrote.
The notion that the president might have taped conversations first arose three day’s after Comey’s abrupt departure, when the president tweeted what seemed like a veiled threat suggesting that he might have done so. “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” he wrote at the time.
At the time of his termination, Comey had been leading a federal investigation into whether the president’s campaign advisors had colluded with Moscow in order to influence last year’s election. Former FBI director Robert Mueller has since taken the lead on the investigation.
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President Trump was expected to make an announcement about the alleged tapes this week, as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday. The statement arrived a day before the Friday deadline to submit any tapes that House members investigating the president’s possible campaign ties to Russia had set.
During Comey’s testimony about his interactions with the president before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, Comey said he had no issue with the president releasing possible recordings of their conversations, should they exist.
“I’ve seen the tweet about tapes,” Comey said. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes!”
It appears that hope is dashed.