The Republican chairmen of three powerful House committees suggested Thursday that the numerous memos written by former FBI Director James Comey detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump “would be Defense Exhibit A” if Trump were charged with obstruction of justice.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said in a joint statement: “We have long argued former Director Comey’s self-styled memos should be in the public domain, subject to any classification redactions. These memos are significant for both what is in them and what is not.”
The three chairmen questioned why “Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened,” while feeling the need “to memorialize conversations with President Trump,” rather than conversations with Democrats — “at least two different standards in his interactions with others.”
“These memos also lay bare the notion that former Director Comey is not motivated by animus,” they added about the memos that were released to lawmakers and obtained by Fox News on Thursday evening. “In his eyes, the real crime was his own firing.”
They said the memos “made clear (Trump) wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated” as well as “the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier” compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responded by saying the memos showed Trump’s “contempt for the rule of law.”
She continued in a tweet, “His attempts to intimidate, circumvent the law & undermine integrity of law enforcement investigations demand immediate action to protect the Mueller investigation” into alleged Russian collusion.
“President Trump’s interference was a blatant effort to deny justice, and Director Comey was right to document it as it happened—in real time,” House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., added.
The memos, as Fox News reported, include details about several interactions in the first few months of the Trump administration. They include a January 2017 dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty, and a conversation the following month about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Some of the episodes have been recounted in Comey’s congressional testimony last year and in his new book, “A Higher Loyalty.”
The three House Republican committee chairmen had asked that un-redacted copies of the memos be made available last week, saying there is “no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress.”
House Republicans repeatedly had threatened to hold Justice Department officials in contempt as they have sought more than a million pages in documents related to Democrat Hillary Clinton and the beginning of the department’s Russia investigation.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.