In collusion news today, the New York Times is in transition. Michael Schmidt reports that Special Counsel Mueller is digging into the evidence of obstruction of justice implicating President Trump. Schmidt does not contemplate the possibility (or report Mueller contemplating the possibility) that Trump wanted to do what he could to end the endless collusion case because he knows he didn’t collude. It’s possible.
As recounted by Schmidt, Trump’s firing of former FBI Director Comey forms an essential component of Mueller’s case. In collusion news you probably didn’t hear today, the memos that Comey leaked to the Times via his Columbia law professor friend Daniel Richman have reappeared. Comey wrote a total of seven memos memorializing interactions with Trump. Comey provided four of the memos to Richman.
Four of the seven memos are classified. Wanting to review them himself, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley was required jog over to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). Because four of the seven memos are classified, Senator Grassley infers that at least one of the four memos leaked by Comey to Richman is classified.
Now Senator Grassley has a few questions he wants answered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He wants to know the memos’ chain of custody, the date that they were marked classified, and who marked them as classified. Senator Grassley also asks what steps the Justice Department has taken to determine if any classified information was provided to Professor Richman and whether such a disclosure violated department rules or policy. He has posted his letter to Rosenstein online here.
Shouldn’t Comey in any event have known better? Might the disclosure also have violated the law? Will Comey have to avail himself of the Comey defense in which “extreme carelessness” is no crime?
Quotable quote (footnotes omitted): “When the Committee contacted Professor Richman seeking copies of the memos Mr. Comey had provided him, he refused to provide them, did not say how many he had received from Mr. Comey, and refused to say whether he retained copies. It is unclear whether any of the memos reviewed by the Committee were retrieved from Professor Richman. The Committee has accordingly not determined which of the seven memos Mr. Comey provided him. Professor Richman did tell Committee investigators that he was working with the Special Counsel’s Office, and he reportedly told the media that he had turned over to the FBI copies of the memos he’d received from Mr. Comey. If true, the Justice Department should know which memos were provided and be able to share that information with the Committee.”