WASHINGTON, D.C.: Democrats kept up the pressure on Donald Trump Sunday over his firing of FBI director James Comey, as members of both parties said the president must turn over any secret recordings of the two men’s conversations.
Trump tweeted Friday that “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
White House spokespeople later refused to say whether the president’s conversations were in fact being secretly taped.
But Democrats appearing on television Sunday said the abrupt firing of Comey—who was leading an FBI inquiry into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Russia links of several Trump associates—amounted to obstruction of justice. They called the president’s tweet a clear attempt at intimidation.
If the current administration did make tapes, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer told CNN on Sunday, “the president should turn them over immediately, of course. To destroy them would be a violation of law.”
He argued later on NBC that it was important for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor in the case because such a person would have “the ability to actually prosecute people for violations of law.”
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said that as his panel continues to investigate the Russia matter, it wants to “make sure those tapes, if they exist, are preserved.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that the Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, needs Comey to appear before it to “clear the air.”
“You can’t be cute about tapes,” the South Carolina lawmaker told NBC. “If there’s tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over.”