Tape-gate firestorm hits FBI

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD -

RAG­ING against a po­lit­i­cal firestorm, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shot a sharp warn­ing at his ousted FBI di­rec­tor about pos­si­ble “tapes” of their dis­puted pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions, rais­ing the provoca­tive pos­si­bil­ity that record­ing de­vices have been in­stalled in the White House.

Mr Trump tweeted that ousted James Comey should hope “there are no ‘tapes’ of our con­ver­sa­tions.”

He later said in an in­ter­view that he couldn’t, and wouldn’t, talk about any pos­si­ble tape record­ings. “All I want is for Comey to be hon­est. And I hope he will be,” he said.

His re­marks fol­lowed ear­lier state­ments that Comey gave him three sep­a­rate as­sur­ances that he was not un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer de­clined to dis­cuss whether lis­ten­ing de­vices were ac­tive in the Oval Of­fice or else­where, a non-de­nial that re­called the se­cretly taped con­ver­sa­tions and tele­phone calls that ul­ti­mately led to Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon’s down­fall in the Water­gate scan­dal. Democrats quickly seized on the dis­pute, de­mand­ing the White House turn over any tapes that might ex­ist of the Pres­i­dent’s con­ver­sa­tions with Comey.

“(Pres­i­dent) Trump’s be­hav­iour raises “the spec­tre of pos­si­ble in­tim­i­da­tion and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice,” John Cony­ers and Eli­jah Cum­mings, Democrats on the House Ju­di­ciary and Over­sight com­mit­tees, wrote in a let­ter to White House Coun­sel Don McGahn.

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