President Donald Trump revealed via Twitter that he did not make any tapes or recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
The president announced the news in a tweet, after previously suggesting he might have recorded conversations between the two before he fired Comey in May. Comey later testified about the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
"With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea ... whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings," Trump tweeted on June 22.
In May, Trump tweeted that Comey "better hope that there are no ‘tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
During his hearing, Comey said the implication of a threat from Trump was the reason he shared information about notes he took during conversations with him. At the time of their meetings, Comey was in charge of the FBI's investigation into potential collusion between the president's campaign and Russia, USA Today reported.
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey said.
Trump's admission came just one day before a deadline set by a House committee running an investigation into the Russia allegations for the Trump administration to submit any tapes.
A Republican official close to the president told CNN that Trump needed to address the claims he made about tapes, adding that he reportedly was "amused" by the fact that people were "obsessing" over the issue.
"If he doesn't regret this, he should," the official said.
Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told CNN the president admitted he recorded his conversations with Comey, but later said in a deposition that he used the threat of tapes to "intimidate" the former FBI head.
"My attorney said, 'Mr. Trump, do you have a taping system?' And he said no. And he said, 'Well then, why did you say this to Mr. O'Brien?' And he essentially said, 'I wanted to intimidate him,'" O'Brien said.
Many readers criticized the president for bluffing about tapes.
"He lied again," one ABC News reader commented. "Anyone surprised?"
"Again proven to be a liar," another wrote. "Just one more reason to believe Comey's version of events."
"Yeah, Trump just insinuated he did, like the incredibly immature man baby he is to try and scare Comey out of testifying and it didn't work," wrote another. "I still can't believe that grotesque THING is in the White House embarrassing our country on an almost hourly basis."
Others defended Trump and his actions.
"What did he lie about?" one reader wondered. "Seeing as he never said or insinuated that he had any tapes."
"If you look at what he said, in no way did he ever insinuate that he had any tapes at all," another added.