Newly declassified memos detail Comey interactions with Trump

President Donald J. Trump said he “looked forward to working” with James Comey when they met alone on January 6 in Trump Tower, New York City, according to the former FBI Director.

The newly declassified 15 pages of memos, recorded by Comey, outline many observations, including that Trump once “thought highly” of the man he now refers to as “Shadey James Comey.

The US Justice Department handed the memos (New York Times, may be behind paywall) to Congress days before James Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” became publicly available.

Both American political parties have claimed partisan vindication from the memos. The three Republican members on the House Intelligence Committee who requested the memos be declassified called them “myriad [in] other extraneous facts.” 

Democrat Minority leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the memos are evidence of Trump’s attempts to “circumvent the law and undermine law enforcement.”

Nancy Pelosi on Twitter

The release of #Comey Memos are further proof of @realDonaldTrump’s contempt for the rule of law. His attempts to intimidate, circumvent the law & undermine integrity of law enforcement investigations demand immediate action to protect the Mueller investigation. #FollowTheFacts

The memos are largely a reiteration of what has already been leaked and written in the media. A month after his firing, Comey admitted to leaking one of his memos to the press which said that Trump wanted him to drop the investigation into General Michael Flynn (The Hill). Comey leaked the information in hopes of triggering a special counsel. His personal accounts on his interactions with Trump have not been corroborated.

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Claims made in the ‘Comey memos’

  • Trump said Flynn has “judgement issues” for not telling him an important world leader called until six days later. 
  • Trump brought up the reports of “golden showers” a number of times, concerned that rumors of him being urinated on by Russian prostitutes was having a negative impact on his marriage.
    • He wanted the FBI to launch an investigation into disproving the Steele Dossier. Comey said that was a bad idea because it would create a narrative that the president was being investigated. 
  • Trump was upset with his interview with Bill O’Reilly where he said that the U.S. government was not “innocent” when asked about the use of violence and suppression by the Russian government.
    • Russia wanted an apology from O’Reilly.
    • Trump was fazed, according to Comey, when the FBI Director told him that he thought it was inaccurate to equate the U.S. with Russia: “we aren’t the kind of killers that Putin is.”
  • Trump had a problem with FBI number 2, Andrew McCabe, who he saw as a Clinton supporter.
  • Trump wanted Comey to pursue journalists who published government leaks as a way to stop them. The president was deeply concerned by how often private conversations made it to the press. He even said that reporters were arrested in the old days, and it worked. 
    • Comey said that pursuing journalists was not a good idea, but used harsh language to describe what he wanted to do with leakers: “Nail [them] to the door” and put a “head on a pike.”
  • After the decision was made to fire Flynn, Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation onto the former U.S. general. “I hope you can let this go” Trump said. 
  • Trump repeatedly asked for “loyalty” from Comey. Comey either did not answer, or said that he would give him “honesty.”
  • Pushed Comey to release a statement that Trump was not being investigated. Comey told him that he needed to take this up with the acting Attorney General Dana Boente.

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