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The White House can’t run from Trump’s “tapes” tweet any longer.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump, four weeks ago:

The New Republic, three weeks ago:

If Comey testifies publicly before the Senate, it is likely he will confirm under oath that Trump sought his personal loyalty, thus resolving the mystery of the White House tapes one way or another. Trump might dispute Comey’s claims, but if he doesn’t release any tapes to prove his case, it would suggest either that the tapes don’t exist or that they vindicate Comey. The question at the heart of the tape scandal would tighten from “Do the tapes exist?” to “Did the president lie about the existence of the tapes, or about their content?” That’s a question people working in the White House will feel much more pressure to address than the one they face today....

The White House’s recoiling over questions about potential Comey tapes suggests the administration knows that the implications of the tweet are far more severe. In fact, though it wasn’t readily obvious in the swirl of events last week, the tape tweet is proving to be the most damaging Trump tweet of all time.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, today:

It is clear that President Trump’s legal defense is to refute Mr. Comey’s account. Well, the President threatened Mr. Comey with the release of tapes of their conversations. Presumably that includes the conversation when President Trump asked Director Comey to “let go” of the Flynn investigation.

It’s awfully curious that no one from the President’s team will either confirm or deny the existence of those tapes, when the tapes are the only way to prove that Mr. Comey’s testimony, which came under oath, was false or misleading.

President Trump: if you disagree with anything the Director said today, play the tapes for all of America to hear. Or admit that there are no tapes.