More than a month ago, Trump made the headlines when he suggested that there may be some “tapes” of the conversations he had with former FBI Director James Comey in the Oval Office. Trump was upset that Comey leaked a personal memo to the press saying that the president urged him to drop the bureau investigation into “good guy” Michael Flynn.
Shortly after the Comey leak, Trump tweeted:
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
The tweet rattled Capitol Hill and the American public alike, as it was a hint that Trump might be following in Richard Nixon’s footsteps and tape the discussions in the Oval Office. If that is the case, Trump violated both White House protocols and his guests’ privacy. As a result, many White House visitors might think twice before addressing the president in his office.
Ever since the disturbing revelations, the press has been pressuring Trump to release the recordings. His responses were often sketchy as he refused to offer an honest answer.
Moreover, the tweet created an unpleasant situation for Comey, with many people suspecting him of not being able to be entirely honest during congressional testimony. Comey, however, was not bothered by the tapes. His answer before the Senate Intelligence Committee became an endless source of memes and inside jokes: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Probably Trump’s tweet was just a failed attempt of witness intimidation, as Trump’s latest barrage of tweets suggests. On Thursday morning, the president finally denied the existence of the tapes, or at least said that there aren’t any tapes that he is aware of:
…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
However, these revelations do not end the controversy. One major question remains: if he knew that there were no tapes, why he didn’t say so weeks ago? And how do you not know if any tapes exist?
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