The timeline of events that FBI Director James Comey has outlined in regards to his decision to leak a memo of a private conversation with President Trump to the press, which he openly admitted, are not adding up as he claimed during his testimony last week.
James Comey was fired on May 9th, then claimed he decided to leak his memo after Trump’s tweet regarding possible “tapes of his meetings with Comey” was sent on May 12th. However, that statement has been contested as a story in the New York Times appeared on May 11th titled “In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred” appeared to closely outline the contents of that leaked memo. In fact, the very title of that article contains a specific reference that was contained in Comey’s memo.
Trump’s lawyer, Mark Kasowitz, issued the following statement describing the specific story he was referring to when challenging Comey’s timeline of events, which would indicate Comey lied about being spurred to action by Trump’s tweet, since it would appear the leak took place before May 12th.
Trump lawyer Mark Kasowitz issues new statement, saying statement yesterday “was accurate.” pic.twitter.com/aesr7hUBpQ
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 9, 2017
Statement of Marc Kasowitz, Attorney to President Donald J. Trump:
Numerous press stories have misreported that our statement yesterday incorrectly claimed that the New York Times was reporting details from Mr Comey’s memos the day before President Trump’s May 12, 2017 Tweet because, according to these reports, the first New York Times story to mention the memos specifically was May 16, 2017, which was after the Tweet.
Our statement was accurate and was not referring to the May 16, 2017 story.
Rather, Mr. Comey’s written statement, which he testified he prepared from his written memo, describes the details of the January dinner in virtually verbatim language as the New York Times May 11, 2017 story describing the same dinner.
That story was the day before President Trump’s Tweet.
It is obvious that whomever was the source for the May 11, 2017 New York Times story got that information from the memos or from someone reading or who had read the memos.
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.
Here is where the timeline also breaks down. On May 3rd during a sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey claims he “never” leaked anything to the press. It’s conceivable up to that time he did not leak any materials, but that would mean only a week later he decided for the first time in his life to leak a memo to the media for his own purposes.
This would mean that either Comey was lying, which considering the smug look on his face when answering Senator Grassley’s question it wouldn’t surprise me, or he decided to break his perfect record of never leaking anything to the media only a week after this testimony. It’s more realistic to believe that Comey’s first leak wasn’t his Trump memo, but rather he has been either directly or indirectly involved in various leaks taking place since Trump took office. At best, Comey is complicit in the leaks since he had refused to investigate them.
During Comey’s hearing on May 3rd, Senator Chuck Grassley questioned him on the leaks of classified information coming out under the Trump administration, and pointing out that it’s frustrating to read leaks in the media, but the FBI seems unwilling to discuss these matters with anyone on the Senate committee. Below is a partial transcript of this exchange:
GRASSLEY: And thank you for your opening statement. I’m going to start out probably with a couple subjects you wish I didn’t bring up, and then a third one that I think everybody needs to hear your opinion on on a policy issue. It is frustrating when the FBI refuses to answer this committee’s questions, but leaks relevant information to the media. In other words, they don’t talk to us, but somebody talks to the media.
Director Comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?
GRASSLEY: Question two, relatively related, have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?
GRASSLEY: Has any classified information relating to President Trump or his association — associates been declassified and shared with the media?
COMEY: Not to my knowledge.
Grassley then points out the massive amount of leaks that have taken place since President Trump took office, and asks Comey if there is any investigation into the source of those leaks. Comey dodges the question, and Grassley pushes him further, asking why he investigated previous cases of leaking, but appears unwilling to investigates the leaks taking place under the Trump administration. Comey again sidesteps the question, stating he can’t discuss anything publicly, to which Grassley responds he expects Comey to follow up with him privately. However, I suspect the results in that private conversation would be the same as they were in this public hearing.
GRASSLEY: You testified before the House Intelligence Committee that a lot of classified matters have ended up in the media recently. Without getting into any particular article — I want to emphasize that, without getting into any particular article — is there an investigation of any leaks of classified information relating to Mr. Trump or his associates?
COMEY: I don’t want to — I don’t want to answer that question, senator, for reasons I think you know. There have been a variety of leaks — well, leaks are always a problem, but especially in the last three to six months.
And where there is a leak of classified information, the FBI — if it’s our information — makes a referral to the Department of Justice. Or if it’s another agency’s information, they do the same. And then DOJ authorizes the opening of an investigation. I don’t want to confirm in an open setting whether there are any investigations open.
GRASSLEY: You — I want to challenge you on that because the government regularly acknowledges when it’s investigating classified leaks. You did that in the Valerie Plame case. What’s the difference here?
COMEY: Well, the most important difference is I don’t have authorization from the department to confirm any of the investigations they’ve authorized. And it may be that we can get that at some point, but I’m not going to do it sitting here in an open setting without having talked to them.
GRASSLEY: And I can — you can expect me to follow up on that offer.
James Comey all but admits he refused to investigate any leaks taking place since Trump took office, and seemed completely unconcerned with the classified information that is being passed to the media. And Comey wonders why he was fired?