- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 14, 2017

Top House Democrats on Friday demanded that President Trump turn over any tapes he has of his conversation with then-FBI Director James B. Comey, saying the president forced the issue by suggesting the possibility of recordings.

Mr. Trump earlier in the day said the ousted director “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations.” The White House later refused to say if there were recordings.

The top Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees said whatever exists needs to be turned over to Congress.

“Under normal circumstances, we would not consider credible any claims that the White House may have taped conversations of meetings with the president. However, because of the many false statements made by White House officials this week, we are compelled to ask whether any such recordings do in fact exist,” said Reps. John Conyers Jr. and Elijah Cummings.

“If so, we request copies of all recordings in possession of the White House regarding this matter,” the two lawmakers said.

They sent their letter to Donald F. McGahn II, the White House’s top lawyer.

The lawmakers also asked for all other emails and memos that detail the president’s decision to fire Mr. Comey on Tuesday.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer would not say whether the president taped his conversation with Mr. Comey, or whether the White House records conversations.

“The tweet speaks for itself,” Mr. Spicer said. “There’s nothing further to add on that.”

Regardless, the purported existence of tapes drew interest from another quarter — Wikileaks.

The anti-secrecy website said Friday that it’s willing to pay $100,000 for the “tapes” referenced by the president.

“If there are — you know where to send them,” WikiLeaks replied with a link to its online submission form.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump praised WikiLeaks for its disclosures of embarrassing emails from the Democratic National Committee and longtime Clinton aide John Podesta. But he has since signaled support for prosecuting the website’s publisher, Julian Assange, for earlier leaks involving classified U.S. government and military documents.

Andrew Blake contributed to this article.

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