This is big.
President Donald Trump just revealed, through a pair of tweets, that he did not make tapes or recordings of conversations he had with former FBI Director James Comey.
There has been speculation for some time now that Trump had recorded those conversations, and Trump himself seemed to hint at it in a tweet posted May 21 while expressing what seemed to be frustrations with Comey.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” he wrote on Twitter last month.
Of course, in making that tweet, he does not clearly state that he made tapes — but his denial of having made tapes still took Washington on Thursday.
…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
“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 in a pair of tweets.
The Washington Examiner reported that the White House had been asked about the existence of tapes, and President Donald Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that an announcement was forthcoming.
It would seem that we now have our answer — and it’s not necessarily a good one for anyone involved in the case. For Trump, there would have been undeniable echoes of Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal if there were such tapes. But if the recorded conversations proved he did not pressure the former FBI director in private, the good would have outweighed the perception.
Virtually every observer who’s not blinded by anti-Trump rage has to have concluded by now that the accusations of Trump colluding with the Russians during the election, or trying to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into that collusion, are empty Democrat talking points. Tapes from the White House would have likely proved it beyond dispute.
For Trump’s enemies in the Democrat Party and its media acolytes, Trump’s announcement puts an end to at least one dream of hauling secret White House recordings into the public square.
Of course, if recordings do exist and Trump doesn’t know about them, things are even worse than anyone has probably imagined, since the only two government entities that would have any legitimate business recording activities in the White House have denied doing so.
Earlier this month, the Secret Service told the Wall Street Journal that it didn’t have any audio tapes, or any transcripts of any tapes recorded within the White House.
So what was Trump’s tweet about “tapes” about?
Bloomberg Politics cited a source “familiar with the matter” who said Trump’s suggestion that their conversations had been recorded was a ploy to ensure Comey told the truth during his testimony before the Senate.
Bloomberg Politics further reports that the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election wanted to know whether or not the tapes actually existed.
The panel reportedly sent a request for more information on those tapes’ possible existence. If they were any tapes, the panel wanted them turned over by Friday to White House Counsel Don McGahn.
It would appear the committee has its answer.
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