Spicer Dodges On Whether Trump Taped Comey: ‘Tweet Speaks For Itself’

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing, Friday, May 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not deny on Friday that President Donald Trump recorded his conversations with ousted FBI Director James Comey. Spicer also wouldn’t rule out that the President still records conversations in the Oval Office.

Trump abruptly fired Comey on Tuesday. The White House has since changed its justifications for the firing multiple times, amid rapid-fire reports surfacing new details of the dismissal.

On Friday morning, Trump tweeted a warning to the former director, apparently responding to unflattering reports:

“Does anybody in this White House have an audio recording of what unfolded during the Jan. 27 dinner between the former FBI director and the President of the United States?” one reporter asked Spicer at his daily briefing Friday.

“I’m not aware of that,” Spicer said.

Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday that Comey had asked to him to dinner on Jan. 27, and that at the dinner he had requested that he not be removed from his post. Multiple anonymous sources told the New York Times and NBC News that, in fact, Trump had summoned Comey to the dinner, and that Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty.

Comey reportedly declined to commit as much. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Friday that Trump’s account of Comey’s actions seemed “out of character” for the ousted FBI director.

During the briefing, Spicer refused to elaborate on Trump’s “tapes” tweet to Reuters’ Jeff Mason, except to say that it was “not a threat,” but rather a simple stated fact.

“The tweet speaks for itself. I’m moving on,” Spicer said.

Spicer was asked later: “Is the President of the United States currently recording conversations taking place in the Oval Office?”

Spicer refused to clarify.

“I think the point that I made with the respect to the tweet is that the President has no further comment on this,” he said before moving on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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