August 24, 2017
FBI Won't Release Comey Memos, So The 'Times,' 'CNN,' And Others Sue

Both the New York Times and CNN have sued the FBI because the bureau won't publicly release any of the memos that former FBI director James Comey allegedly wrote after his conversations with President Trump. The FBI says that they will not release the Comey memos because it could interfere with their ongoing investigation. Others also requested access to the Comey memos this week, The Hill reported.

The New York Times and CNN are the two most prominent organizations to sue the FBI for the release of the Comey memos, but other organizations, including Judicial Watch, CBS, and USA Today, reportedly have also filed lawsuits for the information. The FBI stated that the Comey memos are law enforcement records and that there is a "pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records," such that releasing them could possibly interfere with future law enforcement proceedings. Reportedly, multiple news agencies were given the exact same denial letters.

According to a letter that the FBI sent to The Hill in response to the newspaper's request for the memos, the documents aren't available under any opens records law because they have been "compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information... could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."

These are, of course, the same memos that Rep. Jason Chaffetz was denied when he asked the FBI for them. Chaffetz, as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told the FBI that Congress has independent authority and responsibility to investigate the Comey memos. Chaffetz made statements indicating he wasn't sure that the Comey memos even actually existed.

James Comey told a Senate panel that he wrote memos after conversations with Trump because he was honestly concerned that Donald Trump might lie, The Hill reported.
President Trump's lawyers say that Comey's testimony before the Senate had inconsistencies. For example, a New York Times' story was published before the president's tweet that Comey said caused him to leak some of the information from his memos to the paper.

"The public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey's excuse," Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz said in a statement. "This makes clear, as our statement said, that Mr. Comey incorrectly testified that he never leaked the contents of the memo or details of the dinner before President Trump's May 12, 2017, tweet."

Comey told the Senate panel that he leaked information to the Times through a friend in order to increase the likelihood that a special prosecutor would be appointed after reading a particular tweet by the president, Washington Post reported.

In the lawsuits, both the New York Times and CNN stated that the FBI did not adequately respond to their FOIA requests for copies of the alleged memos created by James Comey.

[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]