Trump signs off on sending Comey memos to Congress

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 20, 2018

Among the people they're targeting are former FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Although he prepared the memos in the course of his professional duties as FBI Director, Comey took the memos with him when President Trump fired him.

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.

The Republican chairmen of three powerful House committees suggested Thursday that the numerous memos written by former FBI Director James Comey detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump "would be Defense Exhibit A" if Trump were charged with obstruction of justice.

The release of the memos coincides with a series of media appearances Comey is making for the release of his new book.

The memos, seen by Reuters, include notes on a meeting at the Trump Tower in NY in January 2017 just before Trump's inauguration in which Comey spoke alone with the then president-elect about the dossier that detailed an alleged 2013 encounter involving Trump and prostitutes in Moscow. He also allegedly told Comey that Russian president Vladimir Putin told him, "We have some of the most attractive hookers in the world", but did not specify when, according to Comey's memo. The following day, according to a separate memo, Comey says Trump cleared the Oval Office of other officials, encouraged him to let go of the investigation into Flynn and called him a good guy.

Comey's memo of his February 14, 2017, discussion with Trump also includes a previously unreported exchange about trying to prevent leaks.

In their next solo meeting, at the end of a much larger briefing, president Trump discussed Mike Flynn, whom he had just fired, with Comey. All of his memos were subsequently provided to Mueller.

The contemporaneous notes that Comey compiled have already had a major impact: They helped lead to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, formed the basis of Trump's constant criticism that Comey is "a leaker" and sparked accusations that Comey provided classified information to a friend. "I said the Russians had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013." he wrote. Speaking of the President's recent pardon of I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney, Comey said, "That pardon is an attack on the rule of law". Shortly after Trump's inauguration, Trump sought a promise of loyalty from Comey during a private dinner, according to Comey, who memorialized that in a memo.

"I think he has an emptiness inside of him, and a hunger for affirmation, that I've never seen in an adult", Comey told Remnick at one point.

Justice officials had allowed some lawmakers to view the memos but had never provided copies to Congress. Boyd wrote that the department had also provided the memos to several Senate committees.

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".

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