After a month of hinting that there may or may not be "tapes" of his discussions with now-fired FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he "did not make" and does "not have" any recording of those conversations.
Trump made the announcement in a tweet (of course), thus ending weeks of speculation that Trump recorded his discussions over the FBI's ongoing probe into Russia' interference in the 2016 U.S. election, as well as the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Kremlin.
"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," Trump tweeted.
With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea...— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1498150490.0
...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 (@Donald J. Trump)1498150502.0
It's important to note that while Trump said he did not personally record the conversations and that he does not have them in his personal possession, the president didn't rule out that there might be recordings elsewhere.
It's possible that someone in the White House recorded the discussions without the president's knowledge, since Trump said he has "no idea" if there are tapes. But then that raises yet another important question: If another White House official did record the discussions, what exactly prompted Trump to tweet about their possible existence?
The "tapes" to which Trump referred to Thursday refer back to a tweet the president sent in May, shortly after he fired Comey.
"James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump tweeted at the time.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1494591975.0
Comey later released memos through a college professor "friend" detailing his version of the conversations he with Trump regarding the Russia investigation, and more specifically, the FBI's criminal probe into fired White House national security adviser Michael Flynn for his failure to disclose on U.S. government forms that he took payments from foreign governments, including Russia, Fox News reported.
Flynn later amended the forms to indicate that he was paid by other countries.
Trump's admission that he has "no idea" if there are tapes will surely disappoint reporters, as the president indicated during a news conference.
"Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry," Trump told reporters June 9.
But aside from reporters, the revelation might also come as a disappointment to the former FBI director. During Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, Comey said he had "seen the tweets about tapes." He then added, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."