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Judicial Watch Wants to Get to the Bottom of James Comey's Memos

Former FBI Director James Comey
Judicial Watch has made FOIA requests for all of former FBI Director James Comey's memos about conversations he's had with President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other government officials. (Reuters photo)

Following former FBI Director James Comey's testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Donald Trump's personal attorney is reportedly filing an official complaint with the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.

Comey told senators he handed over copies of several memos about his meetings with the president to "a good friend at Columbia University," with the intent that they would then be leaked to the liberal mainstream media. While it's not clear that the memos themselves contain classified information, they were produced on a laptop set up to handle classified information.

Even if the information isn't classified, the Supreme Court has broadly established that most communication with the president is privileged. That means it cannot be shared with anyone else without the president's permission.

At the very least, it's a violation of government ethics policies. It could be much worse than that. To know for sure, the contents of those memos need to be investigated, but the FBI refuses to provide them, even to the members of Congress investigating the matters to which they pertain.

Judicial Watch, however, has already been requesting a copy of that memo in order to make it publicly available. According to the government watchdog group, it sent a Freedom of Information Act request for the February memo May 16 via certified mail to the FBI's Record/Information Dissemination Section located in Winchester, Virginia.

Judicial Watch posted images of the two-page letter to its Twitter account on Friday. In so doing, it stated that while Comey had no problem sharing the memo with a friend for the purpose of leaking it to the liberal mainstream media, the FBI has ignored its FOIA request, which stated, in part:

Judicial Watch Inc. ("Judicial Watch") hereby requests that the Federal Bureau of Investigation produce the following records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ...

The memorandum written by former Director James Comey memorializing his meeting and conversation with President Trump regarding the FBI's investigation of potential Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election. For purposes of clarification, this memorandum was reportedly written on or about February 13, 2017, and is the subject of a New York Times article (enclosed) dated May 16, 2017.

Please determine whether to comply with this request within the time period required by FOIA and notify us immediately of your determination, the reasons therefor, and the right to appeal any adverse determination to the head of the agency or his or her designee. ... Please also produce all responsive records in an electronic format ("PDF" is preferred), if convenient. We also are willing to accept a "rolling production" of responsive records if it will facilitate a more timely production.

One week later, on May 22, Judicial Watch sent a second FOIA request to the FBI asking for all of Comey's memos relating to conversations held with any of the following people:

  • President Barack Obama
  • Vice President Joe Biden
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

On June 8, the government watchdog organization made an additional FOIA request for:

  • Any and all memoranda memorializing any meeting or telephonic conversation between former FBI Director James Comey and President Donald Trump that have been provided to the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and/or any employee or representative thereof by Mr. Comey and/or any other FBI employee or representative.
  • Any and all other records that have been provided to the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and/or any employee or representative thereof by Mr. Comey and/or any other FBI employee or representative.

To date, the FBI has not responded to any of those requests.

"Comey was wrong to selectively leak potentially classified [information] in order to politicize an investigation," the government watchdog group stated. "[Judicial Watch] is demanding the truth."

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