On June 12, 2017, AOL News published the following report:
“The question about whether President Trump does or does not have ‘tapes’ of his private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey lingers.”
In an effort to get answers, the Wall Street Journal submitted a freedom of information request for copies or transcripts of Trump-era White House recordings and was told by the U.S. Secret Service that neither exists.
Today, June 12, 2017, CNN and MSNBC reporters have quoted the Wall Street Journal that the US Secret Service is stating for the record that no devices for recording conversations between the republican President Donald Trump and others were present in the White House and no transcripts exist. This does not mean that another entity couldn’t have set up a system for recording outside of their purview.
I am convinced that there are no tapes regarding any conversations between the president and the former FBI Director James Comey that wouldn’t have been noted by the Secret Service.
On May 12, 2017, James Hohmann of the Washington Post penned the following report, “The Daily 202: Trump’s warning to Comey deepens doubts about his respect for the rule of law.”
THE BIG IDEA: The biggest news out of Donald Trump’s Thursday interview with NBC was his confession that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he fired FBI Director James Comey. Undercutting 48 hours of denials by his aides, the president said: “In fact, 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 have won.’”
But what may ultimately get Trump into bigger trouble is his story about Comey assuring him he was not under investigation during a one-on-one dinner at the White House. Lester Holt asked the president to elaborate on his claim, made in the letter firing Comey, that he’d been told three times he was not under federal investigation. “He wanted to stay at the FBI, and I said I’ll, you know, consider and see what happens,” Trump said. “But we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me, ‘You are not under investigation.’”
“It would be a big dang deal if the FBI director was discussing an ongoing investigation with the president — generally prohibited by Justice Department policy — at the same time he was also asking to keep his job.”
But on the front page of today’s New York Times, Michael Schmidt paints a very different picture of the Jan. 27 dinner: “The conversation that night, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall … according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner.… As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him. Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not ‘reliable’ in the conventional political sense.… By Mr. Comey’s account, his answer to Mr. Trump’s initial question apparently did not satisfy the president.… Later in the dinner, Mr. Trump again said to Mr. Comey that he needed his loyalty. Mr. Comey again replied that he would give him ‘honesty’ and did not pledge his loyalty.… But Mr. Trump pressed him on whether it would be ‘honest loyalty.’ ‘You will have that,’ Mr. Comey told his associates he responded.”
— Apparently reacting to that account, Trump went on a tweetstorm this morning:
— Irate about the wall-to-wall coverage of the contradictions and inconsistencies in his and his staff’s evolving statements, the president also threatened this morning to cancel the daily press briefings:
— Bigger picture: This saga, which the president just escalated in a big way, should be viewed through the prism of Trump’s entire career. Threatening to release a secret tape of the FBI director, in addition to asking him if he is under investigation during what was essentially a job interview, would both fit with a pattern dating back to when the president counter-sued the Justice Department over alleged racial discrimination at his family’s apartment buildings.