FBI Ordered To Let Judge Review Comey 'Obstruction' Memos Ahead Of Possible Public Release

The FBI was ordered by a D.C. judge to hand over copies of former director James Comey's memos about his interactions with President Trump prior to his firing, in order to determine whether they can be released to the public. 

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington on Thursday ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to submit both clean and redacted versions of the documents by April 1 as part of a Freedom of Information Act case brought by CNN and other organizations, including USA Today and the conservative activist group Judicial Watch Inc. -Bloomberg

Meanwhile, CNN argued in a January filing that the public should be permitted to see the memos because Comey and Trump have accused each other "of grave breaches of the public trust," and that the documents will show "contemporaneous records of disputed conversations." 

The FBI told the court on March 1 that the files are still redacted and classified, and should remain so in order to avoid interfering with special counsel Robert Mueller's now-completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Last January, the FBI's chief FOIA officer, David Hardy, gave a sworn declaration to Judicial Watch in which he said 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

Judicial Watch's Chris Farrell pointed out at the time that Comey therefore 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.