A Maine senator called for the release of possible recordings that may be a simple way to determine whether President Donald Trump or the FBI director he fired is telling the truth about a strange Valentine’s Day meeting between the two men in the Oval Office.

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” ex-FBI chief James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, called for their release during an appearance on CNN late Thursday.

“Let’s find out if there were tapes, and if there were, let’s have them. That will end this discussion,” said King, who’s up for reelection in 2018.

Speaking to CNN host Anderson Cooper, King said the “the easiest way” for Trump to show his version is true is to release tapes that he has hinted may exist.

The White House hasn’t offered a definitive answer, though, as to whether there are recording of what transpired that evening. “Let’s get that question clarified,” King said.

Several days after firing Comey, Trump issued a statement on Twitter that appeared to indicate recordings of his conversations may exist.

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump said in the statement.

Comey told senators Thursday he had no idea there might be a recording until he saw the president’s tweet about it. He also expressed hope that it exists.

“Release all the tapes. I’m good with it,” Comey said in the hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on which King and Maine’s other senator, Republican Susan Collins, serve.

Trump’s only direct comment on Comey’s testimony came in a statement issued on Twitter early Friday. It said there were “so many false statements and lies” during the hearing. But ultimately, he said, he achieved “total and complete vindication.”

What happened in the Oval Office on Feb. 14, though, remains uncertain.

Comey said that evening he participated in a meeting with many others about counter-terrorism. At the end of it, the president said he wanted to speak with Comey alone, according to the former FBI director.

In Comey’s version, Trump told him he wanted to talk about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whom he had just fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and who appeared to be in continuing legal jeopardy.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Comey recalled the president telling him. He noted the comment in a memo written shortly afterwards.

In Trump’s version of the talk, he expressed concern for Flynn but never mentioned “letting this go,” which Comey took to mean he should drop the investigation into Flynn.

King told CNN that in his view, Trump ordering everyone else out of the room so he could speak alone with Comey “tells me that what the president knew he was going to be discussing had some extraordinary significance. Otherwise, it would have just been part of the meeting.”

During King’s questioning of Comey at the Senate hearing, the one-on-one session in the Oval Office took center stage.

In response to the Maine senator, Comey sought a moment in history that illustrated what he thought Trump was getting at.

Comey quoted a famous, if not necessarily accurate, line attributed to King Henry II who had grown weary of his battles with Archbishop Thomas Becket. The king supposedly asked, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

King responded, “I was just going to quote that” and even cited the day — Dec. 27, 1179, when it occurred.

“Exactly the same situation. We’re thinking along the same lines,” King said.

Though it’s impossible to know for sure what Henry II — there aren’t any hidden recordings for that one — biographer Edward Grim, a contemporary, said the king actually asked, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”

It doesn’t have quite the same ring.

In any case, the famous line proved one of the more memorable moments in the much-watched hearing. Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post said it was “perhaps the highlight of the hearing.”

Collins, though, elicited the one big previously unknown revelation of the hearing: that Comey had deliberately leaked his memo of the Feb. 14 session to the media through a friend at Columbia University Law School.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., question former FBI director James Comey as he testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, right, listens as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., asks a question during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asks a question during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asks a question during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


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