News & Politics

Comey Memos Released to Congress, Promptly Leaked Online

Former FBI Director James Comey (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

The Justice Department on Thursday handed over to Congress redacted versions of fired FBI Director James Comey’s memos documenting meetings with President Trump.

According to Fox News, the memos were delivered to the House Judiciary, Oversight and Intelligence Committees “following threats from Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to subpoena Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for failing to meet the deadline to submit the documents.”

The Justice Department said in a statement to lawmakers that it had redacted classified information in the memos, but would provide Congress with an unredacted version on Friday.

Goodlatte, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had set a Monday deadline for the Justice Department to turn over the Comey memos.

In February, federal Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that Comey’s memos would not be made public, as they were “likely to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into the 2016 presidential race.”

In an interview with CNN Thursday, Comey said it was “fine by me” if Congress and the public sees the memos.

“I don’t care. I don’t have any views on it. I’m totally fine with transparency,” Comey said. “I’ve tried to be transparent throughout this, and I think what folks will see if they get to see the memos is I’ve been consistent since the very beginning, right after my encounters with President Trump.”

Comey also told Tapper, incredibly, that he wasn’t sure of how many memos there were, or how many were classified.

Fifteen pages of Comey memos have already been leaked to the media and posted online:

Details that immediately jump out include Trump’s request for Comey’s loyalty, his desire to have the information put out to the public that he was not a target of the Russia probe, and Comey’s assurances that Andrew McCabe was an “honorable man.”

In one memo, Comey described the dinner he had with the president in the Green Room at the White House.

“James Comey himself says that he told the president — in terms of whether he may stay on as FBI director — ‘I don’t do sneaky things …I don’t leak,'” reported Fox News’ Ed Henry.

According to the memo, Comey told the president that “the FBI leaks very little.”

Fox News reported:

Comey said during congressional testimony in June 2017 that he had given his friend, Columbia University Professor Daniel Richman, a memo about discussions with Trump, in order to have his notes leaked to The New York Times – thinking it may have spurred the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

According to Fox News, Comey wrote seven memos in all, with four marked classified at the “secret” or “confidential” levels. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) viewed the memos with his staff in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the FBI.

Comey told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he had written “somewhere between five and ten” memos of his conversations with Trump, but added that “there may be seven, there may be eight, I don’t remember.”

The former FBI Director also confirmed that some of the memos were classified “when I created them,” but he was not sure how many fit that description.

Grassley has been trying to find out since January whether the memo Comey shared with Daniel Richman contained classified information.

“According to press reports, Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to ‘detail [Comey’s] memos to the press,'” Grassley wrote Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information,” the letter continued.

UPDATE 10:37 p.m. Eastern: Several Republican members of Congress just released a joint statement about the memos: