Monday, May 15, 2017

If Trump's White House Has Secret Recordings, Destroying Them May Be a Crime

On Friday morning, Donald Trump tweeted, "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press." Not only was this a loosely veiled threat directed at the former FBI director, whom Trump unceremoniously fired on Tuesday, but it also suggested that Trump possessed recordings of their conversations—perhaps even a tape of their January 27 dinner, where the president claims Comey told him he was not under investigation as part of the bureau's probe of the Trump campaign's Russia ties.

During a press briefing on Friday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to answer questions about whether Trump had a secret White House recording system. The good news for historians is that if such tapes do exist, the Trump administration is required by law to preserve these presidential records and turn them over to the National Archives and Records Administration.  

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