On Thursday, President Donald Trump settled one controversy while igniting another when he tweeted that he personally does not have tapes of his conversations with ousted FBI Director James Comey, but then raised the question that the Oval Office itself might be under surveillance.
“FML,” said one White House aide via text to The Daily Beast‘s Spencer Ackerman and Lachlan Markay, internet shorthand for the phrase “F*ck my life.”
Back in May after Comey leaked memos detailing Trump’s attempts to dissuade him from the Russia investigation, the president said ominously on Twitter that Comey should hope there are no “tapes” of their conversation, raising weeks-long speculation that Trump might be surveilling and recording all White House meetings.
On Thursday, in a queerly-worded tweet, Trump denied having tapes of the conversations.
…whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017
“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey,” Trump tweeted.
Rather than dispelling controversy and putting the question to bed, Trump’s tweet raises a whole new set of questions that the White House will need to answer.
When asked for comment via text, one senior official, The Daily Beast said, simply replied, “FML.”
The tweets went live just before Sarah Huckabee Sanders was set to give the afternoon press briefing. When asked if the president was insinuating that intelligence agencies are spying on the president, Sanders replied, ““I think those are questions you’d have to ask those law enforcement agencies. There’s public record that talks about surveillance, that talks about unmasking, we know those practices take place.”
The overall purpose of the tweets, she admitted, was to “raise the question of doubt in general” about the accuracy of Comey’s testimony.
One White House aide said, “I hope Sarah enjoyed herself today, because this isn’t going away.”