Schiff Calls Trump’s Bluff: If Comey ‘Tapes’ Exist, Turn Them Over, Stat!

Bill Clark/CQPHO

If President Donald Trump really recorded his private conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey, he should turn the recordings over “immediately,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) demanded Friday.

“For a President who baselessly accused his predecessor of illegally wiretapping him, that Mr. Trump would suggest that he, himself, may have engaged in such conduct is staggering,” Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote in a blistering statement. “The President should immediately provide any such recordings to Congress or admit, once again, to have made a deliberately misleading—and in this case threatening—statement.”

Trump on Friday sent a tweet saying Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their conversations after multiple outlets published stories about a private dinner at the White House the two shared in January. Comey’s associates said that Trump asked the FBI director to pledge loyalty to him during that meal, while Trump said Comey, who was four years into a 10-year term as head of the FBI, asked him to keep his job.

Schiff’s statement refers to Trump’s baseless early March claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the campaign—an assertion that Comey refused to back up.

Schiff went on to criticize Trump’s tweeted threats to stop holding press briefings altogether because, the President said, his staff can’t always be expected to communicate information with “perfect accuracy.”

“It is difficult to know how to respond,” Schiff wrote, “Except to say, being truthful with the American people is a core responsibility of the job.”

“If he did not want to willingly undertake even the minimal requirements of the Presidency, it would have been far better for him to have considered that before he chose to run for the highest office in the land,” he continued.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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