Members of Congress are demanding answers from U.S. President Donald Trump after he suggested in a tweet that there could be “tapes” of his private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
The White House, however, declined repeatedly on Friday to discuss the matter — including whether there are recording devices in the Oval Office.
The controversy began this morning, when Trump again took aim at the investigation into his administration and its potential ties to Russia, while blasting the “fake media” and its coverage of the issue. He also blamed the FBI’s unfolding probe on Democrats who are still unhappy with the outcome of the 2016 election, then threatened an end to press briefings at the White House.
In doing so, though, Trump sought to criticize Comey after suddenly firing him earlier this week.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
In an interview with NBC on Thursday, the president revealed that he had spoken with Comey multiple times about the Russia investigation, including two phone calls and a dinner, before ultimately choosing to dismiss him.
Update: Pressed on the matter at his daily briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to answer questions about Trump’s tweet — including whether there are potential recording devices in the White House. Repeatedly, Spicer said he had “nothing further to add on that.”
Still, Trump’s comments about “tapes” — which echoed the secret Watergate recordings made by ousted former President Richard Nixon — immediately drew sharp rebukes from Capitol Hill. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, quickly pressed the White House to turn over any related information to congressional leaders.
Mr. President, if there are "tapes" relevant to the Comey firing, it's because you made them and they should be provided to Congress. https://t.co/rztyxG6Ytt— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 12, 2017
Update 2: Meanwhile, the leading Democrats on the House’s judiciary and oversight committees demanded in a letter that Trump turn over information about any potential recordings. The lawmakers, Reps. John Conyers and Elijah Cummings, cited federal law that criminalizes attempts to delay or obstruct witnesses, like Comey, from providing testimony.
So too did Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi ask Trump’s top White House lawyer to provide any such “tapes” that may have been made, as well as additional details about the president’s meeting with Russian leaders earlier this week. Krishnamoorthi serves on the House’s oversight committee as well.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.