Former FBI Director James Comey said he isn’t sure tapes of his conversation with President Trump exist, but he would welcome them if they did.
“I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open hearing Thursday.
“The President surely knows whether he taped me, and if he did, my feelings aren’t hurt. Release all the tapes, I’m good with that,” Comey said later on in the testimony.
The White House has never confirmed or denied that Trump tapes his conversations.
On May 12, three days after Trump fired Comey, he tweeted, “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
By that point, the President had already backtracked on his reasons for firing Comey. Initially citing the way he had handled Hillary Clinton’s private email server – which invoked skepticism and outrage on both sides of the aisle—he switched course later in the week, telling NBC News’ Lester Holt his decision centered around the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the election, which Comey had confirmed was happening in a congressional testimony in March.
On May 11, one day before Trump’s tweet, the New York Times had reported that at a January 27 dinner at the White House, Trump had asked Comey for his complete loyalty—even though the FBI is supposed to remain non-partisan – and he demurred. This report is corroborated in Comey’s testimony, which the Senate Intelligence Committee released Wednesday ahead of his hearing.