WASHINGTON, DC — White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in a Thursday afternoon press conference that President Donald Trump was “very clear” when he tweeted that he does not have and did not make recordings of his meetings with then FBI Director James Comey.
Sanders said the president’s statement via Twitter was “extremely clear” and that she had nothing to add to it.
…whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
The revelation comes in response to questions he originally raised with a May 12 tweet, just three days after firing Comey:
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
Pressed Thursday on the timing of the president’s tweets regarding Comey and recordings, Sanders said the president had committed to answering the question this week of whether he had recordings of those conversations. Sanders pointed out that the timeline of revealing whether there were tapes was also laid out by Congress.
Asked about whether there were any Oval Office recordings, Sanders said, “not that I’m aware of.”
Sanders was later asked about what the president was doing when he indicated that there may be recordings of his meetings with then FBI Director Comey.
The deputy press secretary said, “I think it was pretty clear in that original statement that he hoped for his sake, and that was, I think, the very intention. And he laid out his position on whether or not he personally was involved in that, in his tweet today.”
Sanders was asked if the original tweet was meant to threaten James Comey. “Not that I’m aware of, I don’t think so,” replied Sanders.
In reference to any possible connection between the sequence of events from the original tweet about possible tapes to reports of an investigation of the president for possible obstruction of justice, a reporter asked if the president regrets the original tweet. Sanders said, “I don’t think so.”
Sanders told reporters that she was given a heads up about the president’s afternoon tweet on any Comey meeting recordings.
Another question was asked regarding whether, as reported in Bloomberg, the president originally tweeted about possible Comey tapes in order to ensure Comey would tell the truth in his testimony before Congress. Sanders replied, “I certainly think that the President would hope that the former Director would tell the truth, but I think that it was more about raising the question of doubt in general.”
Comey revealed in his June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he leaked information to the media about his meetings with Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio raised the issue in that hearing that it appeared the only information not leaked from these conversations were Comey’s repeated assurances to the president that he was not under FBI investigation.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.