On Thursday evening, a declassified version of the memos written by James Comey shortly after his meetings and phone calls with Donald Trump were delivered to Congress. The memos, which still have some redactions, run to 15 pages. And of course, Trump has given his immediate response.
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
A response that’s like a murderer pointing out old letters of the victim as proof there was no murder. It was firing Comey that is Trump’s most public and perhaps most serious act of obstruction. The act that triggered the appointment of a special counsel.
Comey’s memos are as expected: Detailed, dated, and highly specific. They include when and where they were written, then dissect events just passed down to the level of where people were standing, positions and tone of voice. And with a lot of discussion of one particular topic.
The memos also reveal the extent of Trump’s preoccupation with unproven allegations that he had consorted with prostitutes while in Moscow in 2013. Trump, according to the memos, repeatedly denied the allegations and prodded Comey to help disprove them, while also recalling being told by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia has the most beautiful prostitutes.
He interjected, “there were no prostitutes; there were never prostitutes.”
In another conversation on January 27, Trump brought up the Moscow incident twice. He again said that he had not assaulted any of the women who had accused him. Later in the conversation Trump returned to “the golden showers thing,” calling it nonsense, saying he was worried that Melania would believe it, and stating that he wasn’t the kind of guy who had to hire hookers—though in the next memo, Trump told Comey:
Putin had told him, ‘we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.’
The memos feature most of the events that Comey has already discussed in testimony or interviews, where Trump pressed the FBI director for loyalty, but carry additional details that reflect more of Trump’s statements. For example, Trump spoke to Comey about Michael Flynn, not just in trying to get Comey to drop any investigation into Flynn, but even before Flynn’s firing. He questioned Flynn’s judgement, and complained that Flynn wasn’t quick enough to schedule a call to a “prominent foreign leader.”
Mr. Trump shared an anecdote that shortly after the inauguration, a prominent foreign leader had called to congratulate him. Mr. Flynn told the president that he had scheduled a return call for the next Saturday — far too late in Mr. Trump’s estimation.
The Times reported at the time that Mr. Trump was irritated at Mr. Flynn for delaying such a call with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Expect more details and analysis from the memos later in the day.