He did not make any tapes, nor does he have any tapes, of his conversations with the former FBI director whom he fired, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“[… But] I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” he added.
After Comey was fired on May 9, and after seeing a subsequent tweet from Trump where the President threatened there may be “tapes” of their conversations, Comey asked a “close friend” to leak a memo detailing one of his and the President’s conversations to the media.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” Trump exclaimed in a tweet on May 12.
The memo reportedly revealed Trump asking Comey to stop investigating then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn amid controversy that Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail for speaking with officials before the President was sworn into office.
“I hope you can let this go,” President Trump told Comey in the memo, the New York Times reported in May.
Those who have read the memo said it details Comey’s conversation with the President “immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after [Flynn] resigned,” the Times reported. “It was part of a paper trail [Comey] created documenting what he perceived as the President’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An [FBI] agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.”
ABC News reported that multiple sources who have worked closely with Comey “say he is known for his contemporaneous and thorough note-taking.” This includes a source(s) at the Justice Department.
During his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June, Comey asked Columbia law professor Daniel Richman to leak the memo with the hope it would trigger a special counsel appointment to the probe into Russia and its alleged meddling in the 2016 Presidential election.
The next day, Robert Mueller was named as Special Prosecutor.
Richman confirmed to the Huffington Post that he was the “close friend” who leaked the memo.