De­spite re­quest, FBI re­fuses to hand over Comey memos

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY AN­DREA NO­BLE

The FBI on Fri­day re­fused to hand over to The Wash­ing­ton Times un­clas­si­fied memos that for­mer Direc­tor James B. Comey wrote de­scrib­ing his meet­ings with Pres­i­dent Trump be­cause they are part of a pend­ing or prospec­tive law en­force­ment pro­ceed­ing.

The de­nial of the doc­u­ments, the ex­is­tence of which was made known and whose re­lease was en­cour­aged by Mr. Comey him­self, came in re­sponse to a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest filed by The Times. CNN and The New York Times have filed law­suits against the FBI af­ter the bureau failed to re­spond to sim­i­lar re­quests within a spec­i­fied amount of time.

“The records re­spon­sive to your re­quest are law en­force­ment records,” reads the FBI’s FOIA de­nial let­ter, which was sent Fri­day. “There is a pend­ing or prospec­tive law en­force­ment pro­ceed­ing rel­e­vant to these re­spon­sive records, and re­lease of the in­for­ma­tion in these re­spon­sive records could rea­son­ably be ex­pected to in­ter­fere with en­force­ment pro­ceed­ings.”

Dur­ing tes­ti­mony be­fore Congress last week, Mr. Comey ad­mit­ted said he wrote at least one of the memos in an un­clas­si­fied way so it would be avail­able for use in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He also said that he had a friend act as a go-be­tween to share de­tails from some of the memos with The New York Times — with the hope that it would spur the Jus­tice Depart­ment to an­nounce an in­de­pen­dent pros­e­cu­tor to probe the case.

Mr. Comey said that he had turned over his memos to spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, who is lead­ing the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and any pos­si­ble col­lu­sion with mem­bers of the Trump cam­paign.

Mr. Comey tes­ti­fied last week that he felt com­pelled to take notes of his in­ter­ac­tions with Mr. Trump be­cause he was afraid the pres­i­dent would “lie” about them.

He said de­cided to leak the con­tents of the memos af­ter his fir­ing to com­bat Mr. Trump’s tweet on May 12, when the pres­i­dent warned that Mr. Comey “bet­ter hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our con­ver­sa­tions be­fore he starts leak­ing to the press.”

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