If President Trump secretly recorded his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, the top Democrats in the House and Senate investigations on Russian interference in the 2016 election want those tapes.
“We have got to make sure that these tapes, if they exist, don’t mysteriously disappear,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “So I have asked, others have asked, to make sure the tapes are preserved if they exist.”
“If they exist, Congress needs to get them,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “If they are not provided willingly, Congress should subpoena them. And if they’re not in existence — if this was another fabrication by the president — he needs to come clean about it.”
“If there are tapes, the president should turn them over immediately, of course,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “To destroy them would be a violation of law. But he should turn them over to Congress and to the investigators. If there are no tapes, he should apologize to both Jim Comey and the American people for misleading them.”
Those calls came two days after Trump seemed to threaten the ousted FBI director on Twitter.
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
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” the president tweeted Friday morning, following a report that Trump had asked Comey at a private January dinner to pledge loyalty to him and that Comey had declined.
On Friday afternoon, the White House refused to say whether Trump recorded his conversations with Comey or whether he regularly records exchanges in the Oval Office or his residence.
“I’ve talked to the president,” press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing. “The president has nothing further to add on that.”
“Are there recording devices in the Oval Office or the presidential residence?” a reporter asked.
“There is nothing further to add on that,” Spicer replied.
The latest firestorm for Trump’s White House began Tuesday, when Comey, who had been overseeing the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign had ties to Russia, was unceremoniously fired by the president. In his letter to Comey, Trump claimed that the FBI director had informed him “on three separate occasions” that he was not under investigation by the FBI. Yet in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Thursday, Trump said that the investigation was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey.
“When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won,'” Trump said.
On Saturday, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that the White House was seeking to “make a fast decision” on a new FBI director and that a nominee could be announced by the end of this week. According to the New York Times, the White House conducted interviews with eight candidates — including acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; New York Appeals Court Judge Michael Garcia; and former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher — this weekend.
Any nominee, though, will have to be approved by the Senate. And Schumer said Sunday that Democrats would consider refusing to vote on a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is named to investigate Trump’s potential ties to Moscow.
“To have that special prosecutor, people would breathe a sigh of relief, because then there would be a real independent person overlooking the FBI director,” Schumer said.
But Schumer admitted he would need the help of Republicans to actually block a nominee in the GOP-controlled Senate.
“The key is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us,” Schumer said.
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