World

Senator on Trump recordings: 'You cannot be cute about tapes'

WASHINGTON: US lawmakers called on President Donald Trump to turn over any tapes of conversations with fired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) chief James Comey, potentially setting up a showdown with the White House as Democrats considered a boycott of the vote on Mr Comey's replacement.

In a highly unusual move, Mr Trump last week appeared to suggest on Twitter that he might have tapes of conversations with Mr Comey and warned the former FBI director against talking to the media.

Mr Trump and a White House spokesman declined to confirm or deny whether such tapes exist.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the White House must "clear the air" about whether there are any taped conversations.

"You cannot be cute about tapes. If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over," Mr Graham told NBC's Meet the Press programme.

SUBPOENAED

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah told the Fox News Sunday programme that, if there are recordings, it is "inevitable" they would be subpoenaed, and the White House would have to release them.

Mr Lee, who was on Mr Trump's list of potential replacements for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, also said recording conversations in the White House is "not necessarily the best idea".

Mr Trump's threat about tapes has intensified calls from Democrats for an independent probe of alleged Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump must immediately provide Congress with any tapes and warned that destroying existing tapes would violate the law.

Mr Schumer also said the Senate Democrats are weighing whether to refuse to vote on a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is named to investigate Mr Trump's potential ties to Russia. - REUTERS

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