As James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee wrapped up Thursday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders held an informal “gaggle” with reporters.
Asked if President Donald Trump records or has the equipment to record White House conversations, she gave the administration’s first direct answer on that topic.
“I have no idea,” she replied according to accounts from numerous White House correspondents on Twitter. Comey testified that he leaked his memo to reporters through an intermediary after the president suggested that there might be “tapes” of their conversations on Twitter.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Before Thursday, the White House refused to directly answer the question. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the president’s tweet was clear and spoke for itself. Trump, meanwhile, told Jeanine Pirro of Fox News that he “can’t talk about that.”
Trump recording his conversations in the White House would be completely legal; the issue at hand is the value of such recordings as evidence.
In Washington, D.C., the law requires that only one party of a conversation (on the phone or in-person) needs to consent to the recording for it to be legal. The same goes for Trump’s New York and New Jersey residences. Florida, home of his Mar-a-Lago club, requires two-party consent.