Major danger for both sides but especially for Comey, since we know (or have been led to believe) that the memos exist but are still uncertain about the alleged White House tapes. If the hard copies of Comey’s memos don’t match up with his testimony or if they show that he omitted key details to paint Trump in a bad light, he’s in a heap o’ trouble.
On the other hand, a bright guy like Comey knew from the start when he authorized Daniel Richman to leak to the Times that he’d have to turn over the memos to some legal authority or another eventually. If he was worried about being trapped by inconsistencies between his written work product and his testimony yesterday, he could have asked Richman to claim that the details of what Trump said were told to him by Comey, not shared via a document. Once he publicized the fact that documents exist, he had every reason to make sure his testimony matched them in all details.
House Intel to White House — hand over Trump's Comey tapes if they exist pic.twitter.com/EsjgcFg9qO
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 9, 2017
No subpoenas, just requests. For now. The Senate Intelligence Committee also wants to see Comey’s memos — and they’re going to Richman, not just Comey, to get them. Hopefully we’ll have answers soon, but don’t count on it. Multiple congressional committees have requested copies of the memos and White House recordings already, most recently in mid-May, but the deadline came and went and nothing was provided. If committee heads aren’t willing to force the issue with subpoenas, this may be little more than “accountability theater,” checking the box of trying to get to the bottom of what was said between Comey and Trump without applying any real pressure.
Here’s Alan Dershowitz yesterday on Fox News making the strong-strong-strong-form case for the “unitary executive” theory of presidential power, arguing that Trump can’t be guilty of obstruction of justice in firing Comey because he had a legal right to do it, period. It may have been dubious and unethical and improper, but if the president could have legally ended the Russiagate probe by pardoning the targets, why couldn’t he also legally end it, or hamper it, by canning Comey? Even low-energy Jeb Bush agrees! Exit question: Reporters pressed Trump during this afternoon’s press conference on whether there are Oval Office tapes of Comey and Trump replied, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed, don’t worry.” What does that mean? There are no tapes, or there are but the contents will be a letdown for Trump-hating journalists by backing up the president’s account of what was said?