Politics

Judicial Watch Sues for Comey-Mueller Communications

Watchdog filed a FOIA lawsuit against Justice Dept. for records of former FBI director's conversations with special counsel

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking documents regarding James Comey’s communications with special counsel Robert Mueller about the former FBI director’s private conversations with President Donald Trump, the watchdog group said Friday.

At least two of Comey’s memos to himself about his conversations with President Donald Trump contained classified information, The Wall Street Journal first reported Friday. Although Comey redacted portions of one of the memos before sending it to his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, the other memo contained unredacted elements the FBI later classified as “confidential.”

Judicial Watch filed its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain records of Comey’s discussions with Mueller about those memos.

“Did Comey improperly funnel his dishonest memos and collude with the Mueller special counsel operation as part of a vendetta against President Trump?” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement Friday. “Why is the DOJ still protecting James Comey and the out-of-control Mueller operation?”

Judicial Watch requested that DOJ turn over “all records of communications between former FBI Director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller, or members of SC Mueller’s investigative committee, relating to the return of memoranda of conversations, memoranda to the file or notes regarding same generated by Comey following conversations with government officials during his tenure as FBI director.”

Judicial Watch currently has seven pending FOIA lawsuits regarding Comey’s memos.

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When Judicial Watch submitted its FOIA request for communications regarding the Comey memos, the FBI replied in January 2018 that it could neither “confirm nor deny that the specific items you seek exist or do not exist, as mere acknowledgment of these items would require the FBI to confirm or refute these assumptions.”

But The New York Times reported in January 2018 that Comey “met last year with Mr. Mueller’s investigators to answer questions about memos he wrote detailing interactions with the president that had unnerved him.”

Comey testified before Congress in June 2017 that he asked Richman to leak the memos because he “thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to serve as special counsel in May 2017 after Richman leaked the memos following Trump’s firing of Comey.

Related: Mukasey: Comey Is ‘Always the Hero of Every Story He Tells’

The Justice Department turned over Comey’s partially redacted memos detailing his conversations with Trump to Congress on Thursday. The memos reveal that Trump told Comey he “needed loyalty and expected loyalty” from him. Comey replied he told Trump that he “would always get honesty from me,” including “honest loyalty.”

Comey wrote in his memos that Trump also suggested that he investigate the salacious and unverified allegations raised in the anti-Trump dossier, compiled by Christopher Steele and funded by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), “to prove [the dossier] was a lie.”

The former FBI director did not reveal in the memos whether he believed Trump was obstructing justice by asking him about the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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