White House stonewalls on Comey 'tapes’

The White House refused to say Monday when President Trump would announce whether he recorded his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. 

“The president made clear in the Rose Garden last week that he would have an announcement shortly,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters. 

Asked when the announcement would come, Spicer replied, “When the president is ready to make it.”

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Trump and his aides have repeatedly danced around the question of whether he taped his talks with Comey, whom he fired last month. 

“I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the near future," the president told reporters on Friday during a White House news conference.

But Trump has also hinted that the tapes might not exist, saying the media would be “very disappointed” to find out the answer. 

The Secret Service told The Wall Street Journal on Monday that it does not have recordings of the president's conversations. The agency handled recording systems for past presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. 

Spicer refused to engage reporters who asked why the president won't give a clear-cut answer on the potential recordings. 

“I think the president made it clear what his intention was on Friday," he said. "He laid out his position very clearly on Friday.” 

Trump first hinted at the existence of tapes in a Twitter post three days after firing Comey, in what appeared to be an effort to get the dismissed FBI director to stay silent. 

Since then, the question has been the object of fascination in Washington. 

Comey said during congressional testimony last week that he hopes they exist because they would vindicate his account of their interactions and the events that led to his firing. 

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said.