President Trump said Thursday that he does not have tapes of his private conversations with former FBI director James B. Comey, finally ending a mystery of his own creation that began last month when he suggested last month that he had privately recorded their talks.

Trump had floated the idea that he had an audio record of their conversations, apparently as a way to intimidate Comey. For weeks, the president and senior White House officials refused to tell the public whether such tapes exist.

But after an inquiry from congressional investigators about the tapes, Trump tweeted Thursday, “I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”

As the Friday deadline loomed for Trump to produce evidence for Congress of the “tapes” he suggested he made,  lawmakers had been trying to figure out what to do if he didn’t.

The tools at the House Intelligence Committee’s disposal are few: If Trump hadn’t responded by Friday to its request for information about “whether any White House recordings or memoranda of Comey’s conversations with President Trump now exist or have in the past,” they could have subpoenaed him for that information. Which is exactly what the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., suggested on Wednesday that they would do.

But even with a subpoena, the panel stood little chance of actually compelling Trump to turn over anything he didn’t voluntarily want to produce, according to legal experts.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: