This is just an end-of-evening update on the alleged memo written by James Comey that claims Donald Trump asked him if he could let up on the investigation of Mike Flynn.
Key point: No one has seen the memo.
It has been read to a reporter at the New York Times (see here). It has been read to the Financial Times and to NBC. The Washington Post hasn’t seen it or had it read to them but they’ve heard about it from people which seems to be the journalistic standard.
I’ve worked around a lot of really good lawyers and really good lawyers tend to be compulsive note takers. I have no doubt at all that Comey has a memo documenting what he thinks transpired at that luncheon. I say “he thinks” because in best Rashomon tradition, there is always more than one perception of any two person interaction.
The question is what does the memo contain? Are the sources quoted accurate or are they playing their own game?
I tend to think they are accurate to one degree or another because of this:
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) May 16, 2017
If this is accurate, it indicates that Trump had private matters to discuss with Comey and he didn’t want anyone else there.
Were one to look at this long enough one might see a link between Comey’s request to testify in public and the leak of this memo so that the memo will be addressed publicly.
Lindsey Graham will give him his chance:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that he has invited former FBI Director James Comey to testify publicly at a Senate hearing following reports that President Trump asked him to move past FBI investigations into Michael Flynn.
“I’ve asked Comey to come before the Judiciary Committee to tell his side of the story,” Graham said, according to Politico. “I think it would be good for him if he did. It would be good for the country.”
This is a very good thing because there has been too damned much secrecy surrounding this investigation. We are nearly a year into the Russia-interference probe and the uncertainty is hamstringing the administration and causing everyone to have concerns about how it is being conducted.
If Comey declines, there is always the subpoena:
.@GOPoversight is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 16, 2017
If this memo is as advertised, it is serious. There will be battalions of lawyers arguing over whether or not it is “obstruction of justice” but that is a bullsh** consideration. Unless the House cares about it, it doesn’t make any difference… though it might be another charge on the “sealed indictement.” And one gets the feeling that the fun-meter in the House is pegged in the redzone right now. If Trump tries to bluster his way past this and there is a memo as described in media reports, I think Trump’s administration is officially on life support. I can’t see this resulting in impeachment because I don’t think the GOP is sufficiently self-destructive to go that route, but I think his agenda for just about everything is dead. My advice would be that, if this story is mostly accurate, he needs to get out in front of this and own it and take his lumps like a man and learn from it. What he did was wrong and it was improper.
Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening.