it was shortly after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey over the FBI investigation into his collusion with Russia that it was revealed that Comey wrote detailed memos immediately after each of his meetings with the President recounting the contents of their conversations.
As soon as the existence of the memos was known, news organizations immediately filed Freedom of Information Act requests to see what exactly was in those memos.
The Justice Department denied the media’s requests and the case moved to the courts, where the Justice Department argued that releasing the documents could interfere with the ongoing probe by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into both collusion and, with the firing of Comey, obstruction of justice.
Now, according to a report on Politico, a federal judge has ruled that the news organizations will have to wait until the investigations are over before they get the chance to see the memos.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the release of the documents “could reveal sensitive nonpublic information and compromise the investigation.” The very existence of the memos is highly unusual since Comey only wrote them because he was concerned that Trump, unlike previous Presidents he had worked with, might not tell the truth about their dialogues in the future.
As the former FBI Director said when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee:
“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document. That combination of things I had never experienced before, but had led me to believe I got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way.”
Judge Boasberg did acknowledge the uniqueness of the circumstances in his opinion, writing:
The Court acknowledges that this situation is rather unprecedented; it is not every day that an FBI Director feels the need to memorialize his conversations with a sitting President and then publicize that he did so.”
However, the judge noted that the media organizations can file a new request to see the memos at the conclusion of the investigation.
If keeping the memos secret right now helps Mueller, then most of us will be happy to wait a while longer to see them.