President Donald Trump has cautioned former FBI Director James Comey against disclosing information to the media, suggesting that he would retaliate by leaking alleged recordings of their private conversations.
On May 12, Trump took to social media to blast Comey, asserting that there were tapes of their conversations that would be unflattering for the former Bureau director.
"James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump tweeted out.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN that Comey was "not worried about any tapes... if there is a tape, there's nothing he is worried about."
NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted out that a source close to the former FBI director said "[Comey] hopes there are tapes. That would be perfect."
On Jan. 27, both Trump and Comey had a private dinner at the White House. Since Comey's dismissal, there had been conflicting accounts of their conversation.
On May 11, Trump asserted that Comey had assured him during the dinner and twice over the phone that he was not the subject of an FBI investigation.
"Dinner was arranged," Trump told NBC News. "I think he asked for the dinner. And he wanted to stay on as the FBI head, and I said, 'I'll consider it. We'll see what happens.' But we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me you are not under investigation."
Two sources close to Comey offered a different version of events, asserting that Trump had invited Comey to dinner and spent their conversation asking for his loyalty, a pledge that the FBI director allegedly declined to make, The New York Times reports.
On May 12, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump's tweet was not a threat against Comey. When asked if the president was recording private conversations in the White House, Spicer responded "The president has nothing further to say on that."
In response to Trump's tweet, Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois penned a letter to White House Counsel Donald McGahn requesting that any potential tapes recorded by Trump be submitted to Congress, The Daily Dot reports.
"In light of this revelation, I would respectfully request that the White House Counsel provide the House Oversight Committee with all tapes of the president’s communications with former FBI Director James Comey, of President Trump’s meeting with Russian officials which was closed to American press, but not their Russian counterparts, and of any conversations regarding the hiring or firing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn," Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.