The White House refused to say Monday whether it would comply with congressional requests to produce possible recordings of conversations between President Trump and White House visitors.
Facing repeated questions from multiple news outlets, White House press secretary Sean Spicer went back to the same line: “The president has made it clear what his position is,” he said.
Pressed specifically if Trump would deny a request to turn over any recordings, the spokesman replied, “I was clear the president would have nothing further on that last week.”
Spicer’s response heightened a standoff between the executive and legislative branches that could complicate the process to replace Comey.
Lawmakers from both parties have called on Trump to turn over any tapes of conversations with now-fired FBI Director James Comey.
Some Democrats have said they will try to block Trump’s nominee if he does not turn over the recordings or acknowledge none exist.
“What happened this week makes it all the more important that we get a special prosecutor,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.
“To have that special prosecutor, people would breathe a sigh of relief, because then there would be a real independent person overlooking the FBI director,” he added.
Trump suggested last Friday that there could be recordings of his talks with Comey, warning him he had “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Spicer repeatedly declined to say whether any such recordings were made.
“I’ve talked to the president. The president has nothing further to add on that,” Spicer said last Friday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday called on the White House to “clear the air” about the existence of any tapes.
“You can’t be cute about tapes. If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said if the tapes do exist, it’s “probably inevitable” that Trump would have to turn them over to Congress, which is investigating whether his associates colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 elections.
“If, in fact, there are such recordings, I think those recordings will be subpoenaed and I think they will probably have to turn them over,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”