Now The New York Times is jumping on the bandwagon. The paper is claiming that a James Comey memo has it that President Donald Trump interfered with Comey’s investigation of Trump’s ex-NSA advisor, Mike Flynn. The following is based heavily on a comment I posted on Grim’s Hall.
First, the paper doesn’t have the memo; it was read to them. By a deliberately unidentified source. If the memo exists. If the reader exists.
Second, it is, in fact, likely that some such memo exists. Every participant in that sort of meeting (and phone call, come to that) writes up their notes in some form of MFR—those are great memory joggers as well as necessary records. Comey, an inveterate note taker, is not unusual in that regard. It’s also the sort of thing I did when I was in the USAF. It’s the sort of thing every officer does after an important meeting or telecon. Waiting on formal minutes didn’t happen for most of us.
Third, any obstruction of justice was committed by Comey. As a law enforcement officer and as an officer of the court—he is, recall, a University of Chicago(!)-trained lawyer—Comey is legally bound to advise law enforcement—in his case his chain of command up the DoJ as well as his seconds in the FBI—of any suspicion of criminal activity. If he didn’t think Trump was interfering with his investigation, there’s no problem, either for him or for Trump. If he did think so, it’s Comey who’s committed a crime by suppressing evidence of one.
Fourth, however intimidated Comey might have felt over his job security or the sanctity of his investigation—assuming the meeting went down as the NYT claims—that’s all gone now, with Comey free and clear. And he’s still not reporting a possible crime.
Fifth, assuming the memo exists in substantially the claimed form, it’s important to keep in mind the integrity of the leaker, who’s speaking out of turn, releasing stuff he has no authority to release and who hasn’t bothered with his own chain of command or complaint system—including his IG system that the Left thinks is so important in other matters. How did he even get his hands on Comey’s memo? What does he say Comey told him when he asked Comey if the latter thought it would be a good idea to pass the memo to the press? How is such a leaker himself believable?
The NYT‘s story is highly suspicious, coming as it does a day after WaPo‘s equally carefully unsubstantiated, equally hysterical claims about Trump’s handling of classified information in a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and a notorious Russian ambassador.
Neither paper is even pretending to journalistic standards of reporting—stuff like corroborating anonymous sources’ claims with two or more on the record, named sources saying substantially the same thing. At least National Enquirer and Globe have some minimal entertainment value.