There is one aspect of the Comey testimony story that the mainstream media seems to be ignoring and that is ‘did James Comey break the law when he leaked his memos from his Trump meetings?’
On its face the issue seems cut and dry – these were “personal notes” that Comey wrote himself about his meetings with the President. The problem is, that while this might make sense to the average American, that’s simply because we don’t understand FBI (government) protocol about such matters. In fact, as liberal legal scholar and professor at George Washington University, Jonathan Turley explains:
“By leaking that information, first of all it takes away from his image as this sort of Eagle Scout, if you are engineering a special counsel investigation through a leak.
That’s problematic. The FBI has very clear rules on the handling of FBI material.
This is not some diary. This strikes me as, these are FBI documents. He wrote them on an FBI computer on an issue that was core to his responsibilities as director, with a pending investigation. He wrote it like what’s called a “Field 302,” he wrote it much like a lot of agents write.
To say that is your material that you are allowed to leak to the media is problematic.”
Over at ABC, conservative Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) was similarly concerned that Comey may have just admitted to breaking the law. While Lee isn’t 100% certain that a law was broken, he is sure that the leak was “highly inappropriate.”
George Stephanopoulos: Do you believe that James Comey would lie under oath?
Mike Lee: No, he doesn’t strike me as someone who lie under oath. Nonetheless, I’m not wild about the fact that he had these memos leaked — leaked specifically with the intent of prompting the appointment of a special prosecutor. That doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of thing we want out of an FBI director, an FBI director whose example will affect everyone else in a department — in a Bureau where leaking seems to be a problem.
George Stephanopoulos: Do you think that should be investigated now?
Do you think he committed a crime?
Mike Lee: I don’t know whether it’s a crime. There are those who have suggested that it was. It does, at least, to me, to have been — it appears to have been inappropriate. I don’t think he should have done it.
George Stephanopoulos: But now we have two very different stories emerging from the hearings. You’ve had the story of President Trump saying he never asked for that pledge of loyalty, saying he never asked James Comey to let the Flynn investigation go.
You have a very different story from James Comey.
You know, during the campaign, you were very critical of Candidate Trump for suggesting that the father of your friend, Senator Ted Cruz, was somehow involved in the assassination of JFK. You said he did that without a scintilla of evidence.
Senator Cruz himself called Donald Trump a pathological liar.
So if it’s the word of James Comey versus the word of Donald Trump, who gets the benefit of the doubt?
Mike Lee: Look, in this circumstance, if he’s got evidence of collusion, bring it forward. If he’s got evidence of corruption, of obstruction, bring it forward.
I have yet to see anything, even a scintilla.
And so it’s time to wrap this up and it’s time to move on.
I don’t see any evidence of anything happening here and as a result, I think it’s time to move forward.
George Stephanopoulos: You’re saying that even if what James Comey is saying is true, you don’t see the evidence?
Mike Lee: Yes. I don’t see that that amounts to obstruction. I don’t see any evidence of intent to obstruct. I don’t see any indication that there was even the potential for corruption here or for obstruction of justice.
I’m not sure that there was any “criminality” in Comey’s decision to leak his memos to the press, but I am sure that Turley and Lee are correct in arguing that it as at least very troubling. There have been a lot of very worrisome precedents being set by the intelligence community, and liberal Democrats, over the last few months and all of it has seemingly been aimed at undermining and weakening President Trump. No one expects the Democrat Party to “fall in line” with every piece of the Trump agenda, but the actively criminal and unethical attacks on the administration must stop. At this point we’ve moved past the normal partisan bickering and into the realm of hurting the national morale and culture.