Rep. Chaffetz responds to FBI's refusal to turn over Comey memos

Rep. Chaffetz responds to FBI's refusal to turn over Comey memos

The FBI sent a letter to House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz Thursday saying it would not be turning over memos written by former FBI Director James Comey. From Politico:

In a letter to Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the FBI’s assistant director for congressional affairs, Gregory Brower, said the bureau can’t provide the memo until it consults with Robert Mueller, the new special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

In light of Mueller’s appointment “and other considerations,” Brower wrote, “we are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated.” Brower pledged to update the Oversight panel “as soon as possible.”

Chaffetz has already responded to the FBI letter. He writes that he has no desire to “impede or interfere” with Mueller’s investigation and that his investigation will focus on “the independence of the FBI, including conversations between the President and Comey and the process by which Comey was removed from his role as director.” He continues, “The records being withheld are central to those questions, even more so in light of Comey’s decision not to testify before the Committee at this time.”

Chaffetz then requests documents which he says are “outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation” be turned over to the committee by June 8th. Specifically, he requests “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of communication between Comey and any White House employee up to the president since last September.

I’m not sure why the FBI would refuse to turn over Comey’s memos on the grounds that the bureau needs to check in with Robert Mueller first unless the concern is that, once the documents are handed over to Congress, the contents will immediately leak to the media. Given the number of anonymous leaks appearing in the media every day, maybe that’s not such a crazy thing to be concerned about.

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