1. ITV Report

Donald Trump denies making secret recordings of chats with fired FBI chief James Comey

Donald Trump and James Comey have engaged in a war of words over recent months. Credit: AP

US President Donald Trump has denied making or possessing recordings of private chats with his fired FBI chief James Comey despite earlier hints to the contrary.

Mr Trump said he "did not make, and do not have, any such recordings" of the conversations in a tweet on Thursday.

The president has disputed Mr Comey's assertion that he asked the former FBI director for a pledge of loyalty during a dinner meeting they had.

When news of Mr Comey's account broke, Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Comey "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

Under a post-Watergate law, presidential recordings belong to the people and eventually can be made public. Destroying them would be a crime.

The House committee investigating Russian meddling in the election set a Friday deadline for the White House to hand over any tapes.

  • Trump and Comey's war of words
Exerpt of Comey's statement for the Record Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Credit: ITV News

Mr Trump fired Mr Comey on 9 May, saying he did so based on his very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and how it affected his leadership of the FBI.

He had been in charge of the investigation into the US President's campaign alleged links to Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

Less than a week later, reports in the US media claimed that Mr Trump had asked Mr Comey to shut down an investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The New York Times cited a memo Mr Comey wrote shortly after the conversation.

It said the president told Mr Comey: "I hope you can let this go."

Earlier this month, the fired FBI chief accused Mr Trump of sacking him because of his investigation into possible links between the presidential administration and Russia.

Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing earlier this month. Credit: AP

Speaking at a US senate hearing investigating alleged Russia interference in the 2016 election, Mr Comey accused the presidential team of spreading "lies, plain and simple" about him and the FBI.

He said:

  • He was certain Russia interfered in the US election
  • Donald Trump was not investigated by the FBI while he was director
  • Mr Trump pressured him to drop an investigation into Mike Flynn
  • He took memos of meetings due to concern Mr Trump would lie
  • The president's team 'chose to defame' him and the FBI after his firing

But lawyers for Mr Trump rebutted the allegations saying the president "never, in form or substance" directed Mr Comey to stop investigating anyone, including Mike Flynn.

And Mr Comey was accused of making "unauthorised disclosures" of "privileged communications" he had with the president.