The Comey Memos Are Out (But Who Leaked Them?)

Most people understand and accept that the relationship between politicians and the press is a complicated one. On the one hand, the press, in carrying out its job as watchdog and whistleblower, is naturally adversarial to leadership on the Hill and in the White House.


On the other, the relationship can be a bit incestuous, the press serving, as it so often does, as a very useful conduit to get information out to the public, either overtly or covertly via leaks.

Leaks are a huge part of how Washington works with the press. The *wink, wink* relationship between political offices and the media is partially why President Donald Trump has a leg to stand on when he cries “fake news!”

And it’s an interesting game trying to figure out who might’ve leaked information to the press because it’s all about figuring out who might gain from the leak.

Such is the case with the potentially sensitive Comey memos, delivered by the FBI to Congress this evening to avoid a subpoena mandating they be shared with legislators.

Comey has told lawmakers he drafted seven memos detailing his encounters with the president in person and on the phone. He has also publicly claimed that he felt pressured by Trump to back off the FBI’s pursuit of an investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, as well as into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Goodlatte had prepared the subpoena in the event Rosenstein opted against providing the memos. Republicans have complained that access to the memos for lawmakers has been limited even though Comey testified about the memos to Congress last year and has discussed some of their contents during an ongoing national publicity tour for his new book.

Boyd said DOJ intended to provide Congress with two versions of the documents: an unclassified version with sensitive information redacted and a classified unredacted version that would be transmitted through a secure channel on Friday and available to members of the three committees.


Comey has said there’s nothing classified in his memos and he was therefore within his rights to share them with a reporter via his personal lawyer just after Trump was elected and just before Comey was fired. Which makes the need to get a subpoena to motivate Comey to share them with legislators rather strange.

But back to the leak…

The Associated Press had their hands on those memos very shortly following their delivery to Congress.

So who on the Hill leaked the memos to the AP?

The answer is: it’s really hard to say. The AP is busy writing about the “revelations” in the documents that make it look like Trump was both friendly to Putin and being — ahem — less than gentlemanly.

The AP is also busy making public the suggestion that perhaps Trump was the one who had concerns about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (so, going after Flynn was the desire of the president, you see; not a witch hunt against the administration).


As of 9:30 pm or so, the memos are available to anyone (thank you, Twitter); but someone with ties to Congress or the FBI wanted them out early, so that the AP could get to writing about them and setting the narrative tone.

My bet’s on a Democrat or a person friendly to Comey. Which raises an interesting question, which a perusal of the memos (which I haven’t done yet) might shed some light on: just what was so damning in the memos that the AP had to get in front of  it?

Tomorrow should be a fun news day.


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