Trump calls Comey memo leaks ‘cowardly!’

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

President Trump suggested Sunday that former FBI Director James Comey’s leak of memos detailing their conversations may be illegal — and are far more damning than what was in them.

“I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible,” Trump tweeted. “Totally illegal? Very ‘cowardly!'”


In calling Comey’s leak “cowardly,” the president appears to be echoing Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who said the same on Fox News Friday.

“I thought it shows a lot of cowardice,” Dershowitz said. “He should have had the courage to get on television and release the memos and talk about it or not talk about it. But to have some friend become his surrogate was absurd.”

On Thursday, Comey told the Senate intelligence committee that as FBI director he drafted — and shared with his senior staff — memos about his interactions with Trump that left him uneasy. According to Comey, Trump asked him to “go easy” in his investigation of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, an unprecedented request from a president to the head of the FBI. After he was fired, Comey said a threatening Trump tweet that hinted there were secret tapes of their conversations prompted him to ask a friend, Daniel Richman, to share the content of the memos with the New York Times.

Related: Trump on existence of Comey tapes: ‘You’re going to be very disappointed’

During his testimony, Comey also used the word cowardly to describe his own approach to not telling Trump he wouldn’t drop the Flynn probe.

“Well, it was kind of a slightly cowardly way of trying to avoid telling him, we’re not going to do that — that I would see what we could do,” Comey told the committee. “It was a way of kind of getting off the phone [with Trump], frankly.”

Trump took to Twitter early Friday to declare victory, denouncing the FBI director he fired as a liar and a “leaker” based on Comey’s damaging testimony about their interactions. But he also claimed “vindication” on the basis of the same testimony.

“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication … and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” Trump tweeted.

Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and friend and confidant of Comey, told Yahoo News on Friday afternoon that the proper response to any suggestion the former FBI director broke the law by leaking a personal memo to the press was “laughter.”

“First of all, Comey was very clear that the memo that he wrote was intentionally written in unclassified form so that it would not be bound up in classification rules,” Wittes said. “So if the claim is that he’s admitted to leaking classified information, that’s simply factually false.”

Sunday’s attack on Comey was the third in a series of tweets criticizing the media for focusing on the various scandals of his young presidency — and not on the “great economic news since Election Day.”


Trump also criticized Democrats for being “obstructionists.”


 

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