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Top House Dems to White House: We Need ‘Tapes’ & All Communication between Trump & Comey

May 12, 2017

Washington, D.C.—Today, after President Donald Trump tweeted “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Rep. John Conyers, Jr., the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II to request copies of all recordings in possession of the White House regarding this matter.

In their letter, the Members also requested, “…all documents, memoranda, analyses, emails, and other communications relating to the President’s decision to dismiss Director Comey—a decision which the President declared yesterday he planned to make “regardless of [the Deputy Attorney General’s] recommendation”—and all discussions with Director Comey.” 

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

May 12, 2017

 

Donald F. McGahn II

Office of White House Legal Counsel

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. McGahn,

President Trump took to Twitter earlier today to threaten former FBI Director James Comey, stating that he “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Under Section 1512 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, it is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay, or prevent their official testimony.

The President’s actions this morning—as well as his admission yesterday on national television that he fired Director Comey because he was investigating Trump campaign officials and their connections to the Russian government—raise the specter of possible intimidation and obstruction of justice.  The President’s actions also risk undermining the ongoing criminal and counter-intelligence investigations and the independence of federal law enforcement agencies.

We believe Congress should immediately seek the testimony of Director Comey to better understand the circumstances surrounding these events, although no House Committee Chairman has yet agreed to any such hearings.

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.  If so, we request copies of all recordings in possession of the White House regarding this matter.

We also request all documents, memoranda, analyses, emails, and other communications relating to the President’s decision to dismiss Director Comey—a decision which the President declared yesterday he planned to make “regardless of [the Deputy Attorney General’s] recommendation”—and all discussions with Director Comey. 

We would ask that you respond to this letter as promptly as possible, but in any event no later than the close of business of Thursday, May 25, 2017.  

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

John Conyers, Jr.

Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary

 

Elijah E. Cummings

Ranking Member

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 

115th Congress