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Alex Brandon / AP

Trump tweeted Friday that his fired FBI Director James Comey better hope there aren't any tapes of their conversations, which critics quickly noted only further links him to Nixonian practices.

But it's not illegal for a President to record conversations: After Watergate, there weren't any policies added to limit presidents from recording, per Politifact. Plus, "one-party consent" is all that's needed to tape a conversation lawfully in Washington, D.C.

And presidential taping is more common than you might think: The history of presidents taping conversations isn't exclusive to Nixon.

The Washington Post

,

Politifact

, and

NYDaily News

have consolidated the details on which presidents have recorded conversations throughout history:

  • The first president to tape in the Oval Office was FDR, and Harry Truman inherited his recording device.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower had a hidden button in a fake telephone on his desk to record conversations.
  • JFK increased the number of recording devices during his term.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson recorded phone calls (including a notorious call where he ordered about six pairs of slacks). Johnson also increased the number of mics in the Cabinet room.
  • Nixon himself used seven microphones in the Oval Office, two in the Cabinet room, four in his EEOB office next door to the WH, a recording system at Camp David, as well as in the Sitting Room of the residence. Only a few WH employees knew of their existence until July 1973.
  • The anti-tapers: Gerald Ford gave firm instructions to remove taping equipment after Nixon's scandal, and he only recorded two phone calls with foreign leaders. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush wouldn't allow any tapings either. There's no evidence Bill Cinton taped anything.
  • On the fence: Ronald Reagan allowed tapings of meetings and conversations extensively, and NPR reports Obama may have been recording conversations with visitors around 2013.

Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.