By Jon Dougherty
In response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, a federal judge on Thursday ordered the FBI to turn over memos fired FBI Director James Comey said he wrote following confidential meetings he held with POTUS Donald Trump.
Government monitor Judicial Watch, along with CNN and USA Today, had filed FOIA requests for the memos, but they won’t get to immediately see them. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the FBI to turn them over to the court for review first.
The memos are part of notes that Comey told Congress he intentionally leaked to the media via a friend, in order to spur a special counsel investigation into the president — which happened. Robert Mueller was appointed; his probe has recently ended.
Media organizations and watchdog groups have been fighting to obtain Comey’s memos since May 2017 after their existence was publicized. The memos allegedly recount meetings with the president that have been vehemently disputed.
The Washington Examiner noted further:
But the DOJ has opposed their release. A significant amount of information from the Comey memos has already been made public, but other information has been redacted or otherwise concealed from public view. CNN is also fighting for access to the Justice Department’s sealed arguments explaining to the court why the DOJ is opposing the release of the memos.
The president fired Comey on May 9, 2017, after a recommendation to do so from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who then later appointed Mueller.
In January 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) noted that Comey’s media leak may have been illegal.
In a letter to Rosenstein, Grassley demanded answers regarding the handling of memos that Comey wrote following his conversations with the president.
The Judiciary chairman said that he and his staff have recently reviewed seven memos Comey wrote following his meetings with the president. Of those, four contained information that was classified as “Secret” or “Confidential.”
Grassley also noted that past media reports claimed that Comey gave at least four memos to his friend, Columbia law professor Daniel Richman.
A report in July 2017 said that more than half of the memos Comey wrote following his Trump meetings contained classified information.
“This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election,” The Hill reported.
The paper also noted that Comey testified the previous month before the House Intelligence Committee that he shared at least one of them with Richman. “He asked that lawyer to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director,” The Hill noted further.
“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,” Grassley writes.
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