Congressional leaders have demanded that President Trump provides access to tapes of his conversations with former FBI director James Comey - if there are any recordings.
President Trump hinted at the existence in a tweet. The tweet threatened the fired FBI chief, implying that tapes if they existed, might contradict statements Comey might "leak" to media outlets after being removed from his post as FBI director. The White House later declined, through authorized spokesmen, to confirm the existence of the recordings referred to by the President.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress seized upon the notion that recordings might exist and have called for the White House to release every recording of meetings between the FBI director and President Trump.
Senate Democrats have prepared for a showdown over the issue. Some have said they intend to block the confirmation of Comey's replacement at the FBI if President Trump declines to give Congress access to recordings.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said the White House must turn over the tapes. "You can't be cute about tapes," Graham said. "If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over."
The President's sudden dismissal of FBI director Comey sparked an extended period of controversy. During his tenure, the director led the FBI's investigation of Russian meddling into the 2016 election - including the possible involvement of President Trump and members of his campaign. Democrats say the firing was intended to stop the investigation and they have been joined by moderate Republicans in calling for the Department of Justice to appoint an independent prosecutor to lead the effort.