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White House Responds to Committee on 'Tapes' By Referring to Trump's Tweets

by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 
Image: President Donald J. Trump
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks before signing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, in the East Room of the White House on June 23, 2017 in Washington.Michael Reynolds / EPA

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The White House on Friday responded to a House intelligence committee request for documents related to possible recorded conversations by repeating President Donald Trump's tweets from a day earlier.

"In response to the Committee's inquiry, we refer you to President Trump's June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter," Marc. T. Short, assistant to the president for legislative affairs, said in a letter.

The letter then quoted Trump's two tweets from 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, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

Related: Trump Says Mueller's Friendship With Comey 'Very Bothersome'

Trump sparked speculation in May when he tweeted, shortly after firing FBI director James Comey, that: "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Media reports surfaced soon after Comey's firing that revealed the existence of memos detailing conversations between the president and Comey. Trump and Comey spoke several times, both in person and on the phone.

The White House dodged questions about the existence of any tapes until Trump's tweets Thursday. The president refused to answer the question earlier this month but said, "I'll tell you about that maybe sometime in the near future."

Related: Comey Says White House Lied ‘Plain and Simple’ About Firing

Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in a statement on Thursday that tweets were not enough, and the White House needed to respond to the committee in writing about whether any tapes or recordings exist.

Schiff also questioned whether Trump's tweet was an attempt to mislead the public or intimidate Comey, who later testified before the Senate intelligence committee.

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