Breaking News Emails
The White House did not deny on Friday that President Donald Trump taped meetings with his former FBI director — or that the president may be recording conversations in the Oval Office.
"The president has nothing further to add on that," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at the daily briefing when asked several times by reporters about the president's tweet Friday morning referring to "tapes" of Comey.
Trump had tweeted, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Spicer also pushed back on characterizations about the nature of the tweet saying it was "not a threat."
"He's simply stated a fact," Spicer said. "The tweet speaks for itself. I'm moving on."
Reporters also peppered Spicer with questions about whether Trump was recording in the Oval Office and Spicer responded that he had nothing further to say.
Democrats criticized Trump's comments with some requesting a copy of the recordings.
Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and John Conyers of the Judiciary and Government Oversight committees sent a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn on Friday requesting copies of all White House recordings related to the Comey matter.
The letter also sought "all documents, memoranda, analyses, emails, and other communications relating to the President decision to dismiss Director Comey."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, tweeted "Mr. President, if there are "tapes" relevant to the Comey firing, it's because you made them and they should be provided to Congress."
Trump's latest tweet alluding to the possibility of recordings further added to the heightened drama of the past two days as the White House tries to do damage control on the messaging surrounding Comey's firing. During an exclusive interview Thursday with NBC News' Lester Holt, Trump said he'd previously planned to fire the FBI director — which conflicted with what staffers and surrogates previously told the media about Comey's surprise ouster.
Comey will not appear, as previously scheduled, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Senate Intel Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner said he’s hoping to hear from Comey in the “not-to-distant future”.
Nick Ackerman, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and an assistant Watergate prosecutor, told MSNBC that the situation reminds him of Watergate and makes him wonder if Trump recorded Comey or if the president is trying to intimidate him by implying he has a tape.
"President Trump doesn't understand Watergate, he hasn't learned anything from it," he said.
Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent, said on MSNBC that Trump’s tweet threatening to leak conversations with Comey is causing government officials to say they can’t trust the President’s judgment.
"If I’m a government official right now, what I just learned today is that I’m never going to have a private conversation with the president. I will have group conference calls with multiple witnesses," Watts said. "If I get called to the White House, I’m going to take my attorney that works at my agency and another agent with me. Because I can’t trust that what I say to the president isn’t going to be misconstrued and used against me because I don’t do what he wants."