A week after former FBI Director James Comey lit up cable news with his live testimony about Donald Trump pink slipping him over an investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election, CNN today has taken the bureau to court over its ex-boss’ memos of his meetings with POTUS.
“This is an action brought pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act for declaratory, injunctive, and other appropriate relief, seeking the immediate processing of CNN’s request to the FBI for records prepared by former FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr., that document his interactions with President Donald J. Trump, and the immediate release of those records,” says the filing in federal court Thursday in the District of Columbia by the Jeff Zucker-run outlet (read it here).
“Despite the great urgency in informing the public about these records, and in absolute disregard for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Information Policy’s decision directing the expedited processing of CNN’s request, the FBI has failed to respond to the request within the time required by the FOIA,” the eight-page complaint by lawyers Charles D. Tobin and Adrianna C. Rodriguez of D.C. firm Ballard Spahr LLP adds of the non-classified memos of Comey’s.
The FBI did not respond to request for comment when contacted by Deadline this morning.
In his June 8 appearance before the Senate Intel Committee, Comey, who Trump fired on May 9, detailed the attempts by the President to blunt or halt the FBI’s probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Russia’s role in the 2016 Presidential election. Calling the President a “liar” on several occasions, Comey told the Senators that Trump said to him in a face-to-face meeting at the White House that he expected “loyalty” from the then FBI boss.
No stranger to the Beltway game, Comey admitted he slipped a copy of a memo he wrote up of that Executive Mansion dinner with Trump to pal & Columbia Law School professor Dan Richman, which then made its way to The New York Times. Those memos that the FBI is now stonewalling CNN over are what the cable newsers want to see.
“My judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square,” Comey told the Senate committee last week of why he leaked the memos after Trump hinted online that their meeting may have been taped. “And so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons. But I asked him to…because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”