It’s Obvious Why They Kept the Comey Memos Under Wraps

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Under threat of being held in contempt of Congress, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided to reluctantly hand the James Comey memos over to Republican lawmakers on Thursday; they were predictably and immediately leaked to the public. And with just a quick read of Comey’s notes, taken contemporaneously in the early months of Trump’s presidency, it became quickly obvious why Trump’s foes within the Justice Department wanted to keep these memos under wraps. We would spell it out, but the president already did us the favor on Twitter.

“James Comey Memos just out show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION,” Trump wrote Thursday. “Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?”

If the first rule of the Fourth Estate is “never let ‘em see you sweat,” then hundreds of liberal writers and pundits were smashing that rule to pieces in the hours following the release of the memos. They are working as hard as they can to get the public to believe that these memos are what Comey and the media have been telling us they are for the past year: Evidence that President Trump obstructed justice.

The only problem is that they do the complete opposite. Seeing that, we won’t be surprised if CNN is warning viewers by the end of the weekend that viewing these memos is actually against the law and should only be handled by professionals in journalism.

Yes, the memos confirm (at least, they confirm Comey’s view at the time) that Trump asked Comey for “loyalty” at a dinner the two shared approximately a week after Trump took office. But in context, this seems like a much more benign request that Comey made it sound in front of Congress or in his book. Trump mentions the loyalty bit after spending much of the dinner talking about the grueling campaign, which, if you’ll recall, mentioned the FBI a time or two. To put it another way, Trump spent much of the campaign mercilessly bashing the FBI for failing to bring Hillary Clinton to justice. Is it any wonder that he wanted to make sure Comey, the man in charge of that institution, wasn’t harboring any ill will towards him?

The other potential “obstruction” point is the time Trump asked Comey to stay behind after a meeting with the top national security principles. At that time, Comey writes, Trump asked him if he could see his way towards leaving Michael Flynn alone. This is presented, even by Comey, as a relatively harmless request to which he replied, “Yes, Flynn is a good man.” We’re supposed to take from this that Trump is running roughshod over the FBI and flying above the rule of law? Don’t make us laugh.

We’re glad these memos became public because they are much less damning in daylight than they were when presented to us in hushed tones by biased reporters. All we’ll say is that if Mueller thinks his big charge against Trump is obstruction of justice, he needs to think twice before he embarrasses himself and the FBI in a major way.