Yesterday, a federal judge ruled in favor of CNN, Judicial Watch, and other outlets who were demanding that the Justice Department released the memos written by James Comey after meetings with President Trump.
Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to hand over the memos and any notes Comey took after the private meetings.
The Washington Examiner reported:
The memos include the notes that Comey said he leaked to the media to spark the appointment of a special counsel.
Media and watchdog groups have fought to obtain documents relating to Comey’s notes through the Freedom of Information Act since May 2017, when the existence of the Comey memos was first made public.
The memos recount conversations between Comey and Trump that are hotly disputed, and the outlets argue that the public has a right to their contents.
But the DOJ has opposed their release.
A significant amount of information from the Comey memos has already been made public, but other information has been redacted or otherwise concealed from public view. CNN is also fighting for access to the Justice Department’s sealed arguments explaining to the court why the DOJ is opposing the release of the memos.
Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017. One of the memos leaked by Comey was detailed in the New York Times on May 16, 2017, and Comey later explained to Congress that he leaked it to a friend to help prompt the special counsel investigation.
Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed the day after the New York Times report to investigate possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election.
Earlier in March of this year, the DOJ argued that disclosing information related to the Comey Memos could impede the Mueller probe, saying it “would reveal information about the focus and scope of the Special Counsel Office’s investigation that have not been officially publicly disclosed, and which if disclosed now could reasonably be expected to cause … potential harms.”
The DOJ has also argued that the information being requested by CNN is sensitive and would have harmed the investigation.
While the special counsel investigation was ongoing, the court seemed inclined to agree with this argument.
However, now that the special counsel has concluded its investigation, finding no proof of collusion, the court has allowed the release.
The memos must be turned over to the court by April 1.
It will be interesting to see what the DOJ was trying to hide in these notes.