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White House Dodges Questions About Possible Comey Tapes

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing on Monday.
Mark Wilson
Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing on Monday.

The White House continues to refuse to address questions raised by a tweet from President Trump last week implying he has a taping system in the Oval Office.

On Friday morning, Trump said former FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired last Tuesday, "had better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Questioned repeatedly during Monday's press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded with variations of "the president has nothing further on that," or that "that president has made it clear what his position is."

Spicer was asked was asked how the White House will respond to questions from members of Congress about a possible recording system. "I think I was very clear the president will have nothing further on that last week," was his response.

Spicer was also asked how a senior official could feel comfortable having a private conversation with the president, knowing any discussion might be recorded. Spicer simply reiterated that Trump had made his position clear.

But Trump has said nothing at all on the topic beyond his tweet, leaving it anything but clear as to whether such a recording system is in use.

In a weekend interview with Fox News's Jeanine Pirro, the president also declined to elaborate.

"Well, that I can't talk about," he told Pirro. "I won't talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest and I hope he will be, and I'm sure he will be, I hope."

Of course, keeping people guessing may well be the way the president wants to play it.

Trump faces calls from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle saying that any tapes, if they exist, should be turned over to Congress.

On Friday, top Democrats on the House Oversight Committee and the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to White House Counsel Donald McGahn requesting any tapes or communications between Trump and Comey.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday that "you can't be cute about tapes. If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over."

But they'd almost certainly have to subpoena Trump to get them, and Republicans, who control both chambers, seem unlikely to go that far just yet.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
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