Update 3: President Trump is up late tonight, we suspect reading through former FBI Director Comey's leaked memos as he exclaims: "James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION."
Trump is also quick to remind Americans of one of the reasons he fired him: "Also, he leaked classified information," and ended with a jab at the endless farce: "WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?"
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
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Update 2: Less than an hour after Comey's memos were released by DOJ to Congress, the 15 pages have miraculously "become available" to The Associated Press. Given that no source is provided, we assume they were leaked with the intent to embarrass President Trump.
Comey's memos detail private dinner conversations with the President in January 2017, during which Trump asked him to pledge his loyalty.
Another conversation about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is also detailed in the memos. In a memo dated Jan. 28, 2017, Comey recounted a dinner he had with Trump at the White House shortly after the president's inauguration. Trump asked Comey who he thought he should be in contact with in the administration, and Comey mentioned the national security adviser.
The president said Flynn had “serious judgment issues," Comey wrote in his memo. Trump then explained to Comey that when the president had complimented British Prime Minister Theresa May on being the first to congratulate him on his election, Flynn interjected that another leader had called first. That was the first time Trump learned of the other leader’s call, Comey wrote.
President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment of his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, according to memos maintained by Comey and obtained by The Associated Press.
“I did not comment at any point during this topic and there was no mention or acknowledgement of any FBI interest in or contact with General Flynn,” Comey wrote.
As The Hill adds, a couple days after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the president tweeted that he “had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” The tweet was reportedly written by his personal lawyer at the time, John Dowd. Legal experts speculated that if Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI and then asked Comey to drop the investigation, it could constitute obstruction of justice.
Then there's the hookers...
President Donald Trump says Russian President Vladimir Putin told him, "We have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world."
Comey says the comment came during a brief meeting with Trump at the White House in February 2017. Comey says Trump told him that the "hookers thing" was nonsense - referring to allegations in a dossier about a possible encounter between Trump and Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.
And finally, out of the blue, sheer Comey humor because in the very memos he leaks he says "I don't leak":
"I said I don't do sneaky things, I don't leak, I don't do weasel moves. I was not on anybody's side politically... The FBI leaks far less than people say."
15 pages of Comey memos here...
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Update 1: Confirming our earlier report, the Department of Justice has delivered both "redacted and unredacted" versions of the seven "Comey memos" pursuant to a request by Congressional investigators, and right before House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was set to slap the DOJ with a subpoena for copies of the memos.
Recall in January, the FBI's chief FOIA officer, David Hardy, gave a sworn declaration to Judicial Watch in which he says that all seven of Comey's memos were classified at the time they were written, and they remain classified.
We have a sworn declaration from David Hardy who is the chief FOIA officer of the FBI that we obtained just in the last few days, and in that sworn declaration, Mr. Hardy says that all of Comey's memos - all of them, were classified at the time they were written, and they remain classified. -Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch
Farrell points out, Comey mishandled national defense information when he "knowingly and willfully" leaked them to his Law Professor pal at Columbia University, Daniel Richman.
It's also mishandling of national defense information, which is a crime. So it's clear that Mr. Comey not only authored those documents, but then knowingly and willfully leaked them to persons unauthorized, which is in and of itself a national security crime. Mr. Comey should have been read his rights back on June 8th when he testified before the Senate.
Given that James Comey ostensibly leaked unredacted information to Richman, the DOJ's redactions would appear to confirm that Comey did in fact commit the federal crime of leaking classified information.
Comey says he created the memos in order to contemporaneously document his interactions with President Trump - after he says he felt that the President may have tried to interfere with the FBI's investigation of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. The former FBI Director said he hoped that by leaking the memos, they would lead to the appointment of a special counsel - which is exactly what happened.
The DOJ letter reads:
This supplements our earlier response to your letter of April 13, 2018, requesting access to memoranda prepared by former FBI Director James B. Comey concerning conversations with President Trump. We are sending similar letters to chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and the Senate Committee on Homeland
Security and Governmental Affairs, who have also requested access to these documents.
As noted in our earlier response, the Department previously allowed certain members to review the memoranda with the understanding that their content would not be further disclosed. In light of the unusual events occurring since the previous limited disclosure, the Department has consulted the relevant parties and concluded that the release of the memoranda to Congress at this time would not adversely impact any ongoing investigation or other confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch. This decision does not alter the Department's traditional obligation to protect from public disclosure witness statements and other documents obtained during an ongoing investigation.
Therefore, pursuant to your request, we are providing the requested memoranda in both redacted and unredacted formats for your convenience. Consistent with your request, we are providing an unclassified version of the documents redacted to remove any classified information. The unclassified version of the documents is enclosed. The unredacted documents are classified, and we will provide those in a separate, secure transmittal to the House Security office tomorrow. Members of your committees will be able to view the classified transmittal in the House Security office.
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Faced with the threat of a subpoena, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly ready to hand over copies of former FBI Director James Comey's memos detailing his interactions with President Trump, reports Bloomberg as well as CNN Justice Reporter Laura Jarrett.
The memos - leaked to the New York Times through Comey pal and Columbia Law professor Daniel Richman, were a major catalyst in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
As reported Wednesday by The Hill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was expected to subpoena the Department of Justice as early as this week in order to obtain copies of seven memos Comey created.
The chairman on Wednesday notified the ranking Democrat, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), that a subpoena is forthcoming. Under Judiciary committee rules, the chairman must consult the ranking member two business days “before issuing any subpoena” — suggesting that the move is imminent.
The order comes after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked three powerful House lawmakers — Goodlatte, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) — to give him extra time to consult with the "relevant parties" on whether he can make the memos available to them. -The Hill
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein seemingly began to stall on the requested document delivery - telling lawmakers on Monday that the Comey memos may be related to an "ongoing investigation," and that they may "report confidential presidential communications," meaning that Congressional investigators have a "legal duty to evaluate the consequences of providing access to them."
Ranking Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY) backed Rosenstein's pushback earlier in the week, calling the GOP's imminent subpoena as political "theater" which may interfere with Mueller's investigation.
"The Comey memos are key to the Special Counsel’s work. Pursuant to long-standing Department policy and absent any satisfactory accommodation, the Department of Justice cannot simply hand over evidence that is part of an ongoing criminal investigation," Nadler said.
“If House Republicans refuse any accommodation short of the Department of Justice handing over custody of these documents —which it cannot do — I fear the Majority will have manufactured an excuse to hold the Deputy Attorney General in contempt of Congress. If they succeed in tarnishing the Deputy Attorney General, perhaps they will have given President Trump the pretext he has sought to replace Mr. Rosenstein with someone willing to do his bidding and end the Special Counsel’s investigation," he added.
In a Monday response from Rosenstein, the Deputy AG referenced a 77-year-old opinion of Attorney General Robert Jackson who wrote "all investigative reports are confidential documents of the executive department and that congressional and public access thereto would not be in the public interest," while pointing to a long list of his predecessors who agreed.
"Investigative reports include leads and suspicions, and sometimes even the statements of malicious or misinformed people. Even though later and more complete reports exonerate the individuals, the use of particular or selected reports might constitute the grossest injustice, and we all know that a correction never catches up with an accusation,” Jackson argued at the time.
Hey @Comey. Just heard that DOJ is ready to send your memos to congress. Perfect timing with the book tour — you can’t hide from the press.— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) April 19, 2018