The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s suggestion that there may be secret recordings of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey is “outrageous” and is reminiscent of the scandal that forced former President Richard Nixon to resign.
“I am by no means a legal expert, but this sure seems to have reverberations of past history. When we’ve seen presidents who secretly tape, that usually does not end up being a good outcome for a president,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace in response to a question about the president’s remark, made on Twitter last Friday, that “James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Later on Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to elaborate further on Trump’s cryptic online comment, telling reporters only that “the president has nothing further to add on that” when asked if recordings of conversations between Comey and Trump exist or if there are recording devices in the Oval Office or White House residence.
Warner called it “remarkable” that Spicer was unwilling to confirm or deny the existence of the tapes to which the president alluded in his post to Twitter.
Warner also said he expects to have Comey testify in a public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, although he could not offer a timeline for when that might occur. The former FBI Director turned down an invitation this week to testify before the committee in a closed hearing.
Trump himself, in an interview that aired Saturday night with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, also declined to answer questions about whether or not there are recordings of his conversations with Comey.
Warner was not pleased with these deflections.
“The whole notion that the president can throw out these kind of claims and then not either confirm or deny them is outrageous in my mind,” Warner said.
“And if there is the existence of tapes I want to make sure, one, they’re preserved are not mysteriously destroyed in the coming days, and then two, one way or the other, Congress will have to get a look at those tapes.”