Comey’s own words prove his memos weren't his “Personal Documents”

How could a real-time written memorandum about the facts of a Presidential meeting, written by a sitting Director of the FBI because the FBI Director believed that the President would later lie, not be a government document?

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Mark Langfan,

Mark Langfan
Mark Langfan
Mark Langfan

Much ado has been made about the detailed “Trump said/Comey said” factual narrative that former FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr. testified to at the recent June 9, 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee under oath and under penalty of perjury.

In this essay, I’m not going to quibble with the factual accuracy of Comey’s Trump allegations.  Nevertheless, from this one Comey transcript and the Comey testimony, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that James B. Comey, Jr. purposely and immutably perjured himself. 

How?  In his testimony and written statement, Mr. Comey repeatedly emphasized his contemporaneous believe in the real-time vital and urgent public and governmental purpose of his documenting his conversations with President Trump in contemporaneous written memos.  Comey repeatedly testified that as the then sitting Director of the FBI, he believed that President Trump, now the President of the United States of America, would later “lie” about his Trump/Comey meetings. 

 And, concomitantly, James B. Comey, Jr., as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acted to protect the hallowed institution of the FBI, and institution of that very American republic, needed to write his contemporaneous real-time memos of his President-Elect, and President Trump conversations - on government laptops in government vehicles, and using governmental instrumentalities.  But in the exact and very same testimony and transcript, Comey testified, under oath, that his contemporaneous real-time memos, written while he was sitting Director of the FBI, were not government or public documents, but were, instead, merely Comey’s own “personal” documents that he could later release however he wanted to, whenever he wanted to, and to whomever he wanted to. 

In the abstract, how could a contemporaneous real-time written memorandum,about the “facts” and circumstances of a Presidential meeting, written by a sitting Director of the FBI, where the FBI Director wrote the memo specifically and solely because the FBI Director believed that the President of the United States of America would later “lie” about the legal and factual substance of the meeting, not be a government document!

Or, more specifically, if Comey currently, on June 9, 2017, testified that in the contemporaneous real-time of his writing, his written memos were as vital for the public and governmental purpose as he testified to on June 9, 2017, then his contemporaneous real-time memos were always government documents from their redaction to and including on June 9, 2017.  

And, therefore, Comey’s current, June 9, 2017, Senate testimony that his contemporaneous real-time memos were his “personal document” or his “personal” property , when he released them to the New York Times through a third non-governmental party, and on June 9, 2017, is perjury.

To make matters infinitely worse for Comey, Comey knew he had to testify on June 9, 2017, that the written memos were always (from their redaction, to and specifically including on June 9, 2017) his “personal” property because otherwise the memos would have had numerous legal restrictions and felony prohibitions to their illegal and unauthorized release.  If the contemporaneous real-time memos were government property when Comey wrote them, then the memos would have always been government property, including when he released them to the public, and on June 9, 2017 when he testified about them. 

The only possible way the memos weren’t government property when Comey leaked them after he was fired and on June 9, 2017, would be if the memos were never government or public property, and always Comey’s “personal” property.  And, since Comey had already illegally released the memos through his law school professor friend, Comey was, and is, in an inescapable legal box. 

But instead of Comey, up front, admitting the memos were government property and, up front, admitting to improperly releasing the documents, Comey was forced into testifying in front of the Senate to an even greater lie - that the memo documents were Comey’s “personal” property.  So now, Mr. Comey can’t un-testify his Senate perjury that his real-time contemporaneous memo documents were not his “personal” property on June 9, 2017  because he testified, under oath, that they were his “personal” property.  Comey’s perjury is now set in immovable, immutable stone.

Here are some of the critical passages from Comey’s Senate statement and Comey’s Senate testimony all entered by James B. Comey, Jr. under oath, and under penalty of perjury, that illustrate this issue:

James B. Comey Jr.’s June 9, 2017 Senate Prepared Statement:

“January 6 Briefing

. . .I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months – three in person and six on the phone.”

Under Ranking Democrat Senator Mark R. Warner’s questioning:

Warner: Now, you’ve had extensive experience at the Department of Justice and at the FBI. You’ve worked under presidents of both parties. What was it about that meeting that led you to determine that you needed to start putting down a written record?

COMEY: A combination of things, I think — the circumstances, the subject matter and the person I was interacting with. Circumstances first: I was alone with the president of the United States — or the president-elect, soon to be president.

The subject matter: I was talking about matters that touch on the FBI’s core responsibility and that relate to the president — president-elect personally.

And then the nature of the person: I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.

That combination of things, I’d never experienced before, but it led me to believe I’ve got to write it down, and I’ve got to write it down in a very detailed way.

WARNER: I think that’s a very important statement you just made. And my understanding is that then, again, unlike your dealings with presidents of either parties in your past experience, in every subsequent meeting or conversation with this president, you created a written record.

Did you feel that you needed to create this written record or (ph) these memos because they might need to be relied on at some future date?

COMEY: Sure. I created records after conversations, and I think I did it after each of our nine conversations. If I didn’t, I did it for nearly all of them, especially the ones that were substantive.

I knew that there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI and — and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigative function. That’s what made this so — so difficult, is it was a combination of circumstances, subject matter, and the particular person.

WARNER: And so, in all your experience, this was the only president that you felt like, in every meeting, you needed to document, because at some point, using your words, he might put out a non-truthful representation of that meeting?

Now...

(CROSSTALK)

COMEY: That’s right, Senator.”

Additional, Sen. Earner questioning:

WARNER: And I — I found it very interesting that, in the memo that you wrote after this February 14th pull-aside, you made clear that you wrote that memo in a way that was unclassified.

If you affirmatively made the decision to write a memo that was unclassified, was that because you felt, at some point, the facts of that meeting would have to come clean and come clear and actually be able to be cleared in a way that could be shared with the American people?

COMEY: Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. I need to document it and preserve it in a way — and — and this committee gets this, but sometimes when things are classified, it tangles them up. It’s hard...

WARNER: Amen.

COMEY: ... to share it within an investigative team. It’s — you have to be very careful about how you handle it, for good reason.

So my thinking was, if I write it in such a way that I don’t include anything that would trigger a classification, that’ll make it easier for us to discuss, within the FBI and the government, and to — to hold on to it in a way that makes it accessible to us.

Under Republican Senator Collins’ questioning:

“COLLINS: OK, you mentioned that, from your very first meeting with the president, you decided to write a memo memorializing the conversation. What was it about that very first meeting that made you write a memo, when you had not done that with two previous presidents?

COMEY: As I said, a combination of things. A gut feeling is an important overlay on it (ph). But the circumstances — that I was alone, the subject matter, and the nature of the person that I was interacting with and my read of that person.

(UNKNOWN): The nature of that person (ph)?

COMEY: Yeah, and — and — and, really, just a gut feel, laying on top of all of that, that this — it’s going to be important, to protect this organization, that I make records of this.”

Under Republican Senator Roy Blunt’s questioning:

“BLUNT: So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document? You consider it to be somehow your own personal document that you could share with the media as you wanted to?

COMEY: Correct. I...

BLUNT: Through a friend?

COMEY: ... I understood this to be my recollection, recorded, of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I felt free to share that. I thought it very important to get it out.”

To repeat, focus, and emphasize this critical question and testimony:

“BLUNT: So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document? You consider it to be somehow your own personal document that you could share with the media as you wanted to?

COMEY: Correct.”

There you have it.  Under Sen. Blunt’s blunt question as to whether Comey, in the present tense, meaning at the time of Comey’s June 9, 2017 Senate hearing testimony, believed the contemporaneous memo documents not to be a “government document,” and to be Comey’s “own personal document,” Comey stated: “Correct.” 

And then Comey specifically expounded and explained that that’s why Comey “felt free to share” the document with any one he wanted to after he was no longer FBI Director.  But, in the exact same testimony, Comey testified that his real-time contemporaneous redaction was,  “Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work.  I need to document it and preserve it . . ..”;  and, that “it’s going to be important, to protect this organization, that I make records of this.”  Hence, Comey directly testified that his real-time memos were needed “to document it and preserve”

Presidential communications that were, “Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work.”  “Our work” was not Comey’s “personal” work, but the work of the government and the public.   Comey testified directly that he made “records of this” that were going to be “important, to protect this organization,” the “organization” of the FBI, the epicenter of law and order of the United States. 

Anyone in the world, most specifically James B. Comey, Jr., would conclude that Comey’s memos were governmental memos, government documents, and governmental property  from the very second he wrote them.

The key point here is that if the real-time memo documents were government documents when they were written, they would always remain government documents and then Comey would not have “felt free to share” them with any one he wanted.  “Sharing” government documents, isn’t “caring,” it’s a felony.  And, Comey perjured himself on June 9, 2017 by testifying that they were Comey’s “personal documents” to escape being accused of illegally releasing what were clearly governmental, public property documents.

But, Comey’s June 9, 2017 “personal document” Senate testimony was prefaced by repeated explicit Comey June 9, 2017 Senate testimony about how Comey believed at the time of their contemporaneous drafting, and while sworn as the Director of the FBI, of how vital his real-time memos were to protect not only the institution of the FBI, but also, most importantly, the United States of America in the future.  Hence, Comey’s very immediate testimony of the real-time vital government nature of his memos, proves Comey’s subsequent testimony that the memo documents were Comey’s “personal document” is not true.

A grand jury should be empanelled immediately by Attorney General Sessions to prosecute Comey to the fullest extent of the law.  This is not an issue for Special Prosecutor Mueller who is a long-time friend of James Comey, and therefore conflicted.  This is an issue for the President of the United States of America, and the sitting Attorney General of the United States of America.  The very existence of the Republic is facing a clear and present danger.








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