Update: President Donald Trump confirmed on Twitter that he did not record his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
Donald Trump was lying when he warned that he had “tapes” of discussions with former FBI Director James Comey, Trump ally Newt Gingrich admitted in a new interview.
The firing of James Comey has become a major point in the ever-widening investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and the aftermath. Comey was fired in May in what the White House initially described as a reaction to Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email case, though Trump himself later admitted that he had the Russia investigation on his mind when firing Comey.
Shortly after firing Comey, there were reports that Trump had sought a pledge of loyalty from Comey and had asked that he drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump responded with a cryptic tweet that appeared to threaten Comey that the meetings had been secretly recorded.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote.
Comey later said that the implied threat from Trump was what prompted him to share the notes he had taken on what he believed were troubling orders from Donald Trump.
The former House speaker is now claiming that Trump’s allegation of a tape was just an attempt to threaten James Comey. In doing so, Trump may have been unknowingly making a reference to Richard Nixon’s own White House recordings, Gingrich said.
“I think he was, in his way, instinctively trying to rattle Comey,” Gingrich told the Associated Press. “He’s not a professional politician. He doesn’t come back and think about Nixon and Watergate. His instinct is: ‘I’ll outbluff you.’ ”
While Newt Gingrich framed Trump’s statement as a “bluff,” others are calling Trump’s statement an outright lie. There has been growing bipartisan pressure from the White House to turn over any potential tapes or else admit that they do not exist.
— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) June 22, 2017
— Ray Lawson (@Lawsonbulk) June 22, 2017
The news comes as Donald Trump is reportedly close to revealing whether the tapes actually exist. A White House spokesperson said on Wednesday that “there will be something this week” regarding the alleged tapes, USA Today reported.
The answer is expected to be released by the end of the week. A House panel investigating the allegations of collusion with Russia has sent a letter asking Donald Trump to turn over any potential tapes of James Comey by June 23.
[Featured Image by Zach Gibson/Getty Images]