Almost six weeks after he suggested on Twitter that he might have "tapes" of conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump on Thursday acknowledged that he "did not make" and does "not have" any such recordings, which had drawn interest from lawmakers in Congress.
"James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" the President tweeted just three days after firing Comey last month.
But in a pair of tweets on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Trump said if there are tapes, he doesn't have them.
Asked if the President regretted his original "tapes" tweet, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders would only say, "I don't think so."
The question of whether there were "tapes" of conversations between the President and Comey had roiled the Congress, and the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Asked about it during his testimony earlier this month before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," as he said it would be fine to release them to the public.
Several committees in Congress had asked for the tapes as well.
The White House had for weeks refused to directly answer questions about whether the President had a taping system that he used in the Oval Office, and if he did, whether it had recorded conversations with Comey.
The President had plenty of opportunities before today to say there were no tapes; at a joint news conference with the leader of Romania earlier this month, Mr. Trump sidestepped a direct answer about tapes, and simply promised to let reporters know his answer in the future.
"I'm not hinting about anything," the President said, saying he would let reporters know the answer "in a short period of time."
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.