Monday, April 16, 2018
Waiting for the Comey memos
The following article appeared in Powerline on April 15th
By Scott Johnson
At the Daily Caller, Chuck Ross reports that Republican chairmen of three House committees have demanded that the Department of Justice provide copies of the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey following his meetings with President Trump. “There is no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress,” according to the letter by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, and Devin Nunes sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this past Friday (I have embedded a copy below via Scrbd). “The Committees request the Department of Justice make copies of the Comey memos available immediately,” according to the letter. The letter sets a deadline of Monday (tomorrow) for production of the memos.
The chairmen ask for unredacted copies of all unclassified memos (said to be three in number, while four are classified). They request that any memos containing classified information be provided in unredacted form as well as in declassified form, with “appropriate” redactions.
It is unbelievable that these memos have been kept from Congress and the public over the past year. Showing his stuff as a Washington operator, Comey himself delivered four of the seven memos to his friend at Columbia Law School to be leaked to the New York Times. At least one of those memos was classified.
The New York Times reported on one of the memos in the key May 16, 2017, story by Michael Schmidt. Schmidt wrote: “The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter.” (Query what rules the Times applies to the “as told to” brand of journalism on which it has frequently relied to cover the Trump administration?) Schmidt followed up with another story on the memos two days later based on conversations with “two people who have read them”).
Once filtered through the Times, Comey expected his leaked memos to result in the appointment of a Special Counsel — precisely as they did, and not just any Special Counsel. Comey’s leaked memos resulted in the appointment of Comey’s close friend and mentor Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. Extraordinarily adept in the Ways of Washington, Comey now presents himself as an exemplar of “ethical leadership.”
Schmidt’s May 16 story links to the letter sent by then House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz to then FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe (his name sounds familiar!) demanding copies of the Comey memos. Chaffetz’s letter is still accessible online here. It is dated May 16, 2017. It sets a deadline of May 24, 2017, for production of the memos.