In response to a Wall Street Journal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request pertaining to possible tapes of conversations between President Donald Trump and fired FBI Director James Comey, the Secret Service wrote on Monday that, to the agency's knowledge, no such tapes exist.
"In response to your request, the Secret Service has conducted a reasonable search for responsive records," the agency concluded. "It appears, from a review of Secret Service's main indices, that there are no records pertaining to your request that are referenced in these indices."
If Trump has tapes, they aren't being handled by the Secret Service, which has handled recording for past presidents https://t.co/1JAGq9PLlW
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) June 12, 2017
Gosh, what a surprise! Secret Service Has No Audio Recordings or Transcripts Made in Trump White House https://t.co/aBRJZ0d5QL
— Benson Barr (@BarrB) June 12, 2017
The Journal noted that, of course, "recordings could have been created by another entity" and that "most parts of the White House itself are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Those facts provide plenty of loopholes for the president to secretly record his conversations.
"White House aides have declined to answer questions about whether there are tapes, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying he was 'not aware' and his deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, saying she didn't know and then quipping she would 'look under the couches' to check," the Journal reported.
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For his part, Trump has repeatedly fueled speculation of White House recordings, first alluding to their possible existence in a tweet shortly following his decision to fire Comey.
"James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump wrote.
During his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, Comey implored the president to "release all the tapes" he may have.
"Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey said.
Trump suggested on Friday, following Comey's hearing, that the press will find out in a "very short period of time" whether any tapes exist. In the meantime, his aides have struggled mightily with questions on the topic.
Watch Sean Spicer at Monday's press briefing: