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Comey Memo’s

James Comey talks with Rachel Maddow Thursdday

Thursday the Justice Department released redacted versions of memos written by former FBI Director James Comey immediately after his interactions with Donald Trump. In a Thursday interview with Rachel Maddow Comey said he did this because of the unusual circumstances and concerns about Trumps character.

In a Jan. 28, 2017, memo, Comey said Trump castigated his then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for not promptly scheduling a return phone call of congratulations from a foreign head of state. “In telling the story, the President pointed his fingers at his head and said, ‘the guy has serious judgment issues,’” Comey wrote. Comey said he did not comment at the time.

Comey recounted to Maddow an early February memo he wrote about a meeting he had with then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who asked the FBI director if the bureau was wiretapping Flynn, according to the memo.

Comey told Maddow that he did answer (the answer was redacted in the released memos) and told Priebus that such question had to be asked and answered through established channels.  Comey recounted. “I explained that it was important that communication about any particular case go through that channel to protect us and to protect the (White House) from any accusations of improper influence. He said he understood.”

Comey told Maddow that he wanted to leave the White House, but Priebus brought him to speak with the President. According to Comey, Trump raised the issue of Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, who had been criticized by Trump during the campaign because McCabe’s wife had previously run as a Democrat for a seat in the Virginia state legislature.

In February 2017, Comey said, Trump asked him in an Oval Office meeting if he “can see your way clear” to drop the investigation into Flynn.  Flynn resigned as national security adviser after it became public that he had misled Vice President Pence about the conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The two men had discussed during the transition the possibility of lifting Obama administration sanctions imposed on Russia. Eventually, Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations Kislyak.

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

At the time, the president was upset that transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia had appeared in The Washington Post.

Maddow asked Comey about his own concerns about leaks.  She showed a clip of Rudy Giuliani telling Fox news reporters before a “bomb shell” coming soon from the FBI about the Hillery Clinton email scandle. Comey said when he heard about the disclosure, he instigated an investigation to find the source of leaks. Comey was fired before the investigation completed. He told Maddow he did not know if it was completed.

In a February 8, 2017 memo, Comey recounted how the president denied an allegation raised in a dossier written by Christopher Steele a former British spy that he consorted with prostitutes in Moscow, but he also claimed that Putin had told him “we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.’’​ Maddow asked Comey if Steele had credibility with the FBI.  Comey replied that he did.

The Justice Department sent redacted copies of the memos to Congress on Thursday, and unredacted versions will be made available for members of three House committees to review on Friday in a secure facility on Capitol Hill.

The delivery of the memos was in response to an April 13 request by the GOP chairmen of the House Judiciary, Intelligence, and Oversight and Government Reform committees for access to them.

Comey headed the investigation begun in July 2016 into whether there was any coordination between Trump associates and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election. 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.

In May 2017, Trump fired Comey. Soon after, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel on the Russia probe.

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Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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