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Justice Department Turns Over 15 Pages Of Comey Memos To Congress


Tonight 15 pages of memos that former FBI director James Comey wrote after his conversations with President Trump have been turned over by the Justice Department to Congress. NPR's Ryan Lucas has been reading through them and joins us now. Hi, Ryan.


SHAPIRO: These are documents that Comey wrote before Trump fired him. And Comey has talked about them in Congressional testimony. So are you seeing anything new in here?

LUCAS: Well, as you said, he talked about them in Congressional testimony. But remember; he's also talked about them in his new book that's just out and the media blitz that he's been doing over the past couple days. So a lot of the stories in here are things that we have heard before from James Comey - all these interactions that he had with the president, the dinners that he had, the conversations that he had.

A lot of this is even the same language that we've heard from him before. But yes, there is greater detail than we've seen before. And there are some interactions themselves that he had with the president, conversations, topics that they touched on that we didn't have as much detail on before.

One in particular that sticks out is he talks about how the president expressed concern about his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his judgment. And Comey recounts this story of how the president talked about a phone call that came in, and he didn't learn about it from Michael Flynn. It was a phone call with a foreign leader that Flynn did not alert the president to until several days afterwards. And the president was quite upset that it took Flynn that long to tell him that this foreign leader - unidentified foreign leader - had called because Trump felt that, one, if you're the president, you have to take these calls, and you have to respond.

SHAPIRO: Of course Flynn was later fired for not being forthright about his conversations with Russian officials. And Flynn has since pleaded guilty to charges that came in the Mueller investigation. Do these documents give us new insight into other connections between the Trump administration and Russia?

LUCAS: They don't. But what they do is provide another example of how concerned the president has been for some months about the allegations of ties between folks within his campaign, his associates and Russia - those allegations that have been out there. And of course it was James Comey who confirmed publicly that the FBI did indeed have a counterintelligence investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

SHAPIRO: Just in 30 seconds or so, why are we seeing these now?

LUCAS: Well, Republican members of the House in particular who are allies of the president have been pushing the Justice Department for quite some time to get more documents out of the Justice Department related to the Russia investigation. After a long kind of bit of arm wrestling, the Justice Department turned these over today. And they are now out in the public realm.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Ryan Lucas, thanks so much.

LUCAS: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

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