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Trump claims Comey memos show no obstruction

President Donald Trump claims that memos released by former FBI director James Comey show there is no case for collusion or obstruction of justice. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

Posted: Apr 22, 2018 9:04 AM
Updated: Apr 22, 2018 9:17 AM

The Justice Department's internal watchdog has interviewed multiple individuals who saw copies of former FBI Director James Comey's memos recounting his conversations with President Donald Trump prior to Thursday's widespread release, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Until now, Comey has publicly stated that he shared the memos with top officials at the FBI, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman and special counsel Robert Mueller's office. But CNN has learned of additional close associates of Comey -- outside of the FBI -- who have been questioned by the inspector general's office about precisely which memo or memos they saw and when Comey shared them, sources say.

The answers to such questions could prove critical for Comey, as the inspector general's office is expected to release a significant report in the coming weeks on how the FBI handled politically sensitive investigations related to Trump and his 2016 presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

The inspector general's office is reviewing how the former FBI director handled the memos, including whether any classified information was improperly shared, according to sources familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for the inspector general's office declined to comment. A spokesperson for Comey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The existence of the memos was first revealed last spring when The New York Times reported Comey had written a memo suggesting Trump asked him to scuttle the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey told senators he provided that one to "a friend" to read to the Times in hopes it would prompt the appointment of a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

At the time, officials at the FBI knew Comey had memorialized his interactions with the President, but were not aware he shared the contents outside of the bureau until Comey divulged it during his testimony last June, one source explained.

"I thought it was something that needed to be done," Comey told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview on Thursday, explaining his decision to give the memo to Richman. "And a private citizen can talk about their unclassified conversations with the President."

This week the Justice Department turned over to Congress a set of seven documents, which include Comey's contemporaneous notes and emails to top FBI officials with some redactions of classified information. Lawmakers were also provided fully unredacted documents to review in a secure setting on Capitol Hill.

Earlier this year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and other Republican lawmakers raised questions about Comey's handling of classified information.

"If it's true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information," Grassley wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein while asking for further clarification.

In Comey's book "A Higher Loyalty" released this week, the memo that he focuses on the most is the February 2017 one detailing the Flynn conversation, which, according to the copy of the memo obtained by CNN, does not contain any redactions.

But Comey said Thursday he could not recall exactly how many memos in total were classified.

"I don't know exactly how many there are," Comey told Tapper. "Some may be memos, some may be e-mails. ... And I think some of them -- I know when I created some of them, they were classified, but I don't know how many of that group."

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the Justice Department's inspector general is investigating at least two memos alleged to contain classified information that Comey shared with Richman. The newspaper reports that Comey himself redacted portions of one memo before sharing it and that a second memo was later determined by FBI officials to be classified "confidential," the lowest level of classification.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 446380

Reported Deaths: 5995
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin927471474
Ramsey39820736
Dakota32876338
Anoka30877363
Washington20066227
Stearns17813187
St. Louis13609241
Scott1191796
Wright11570104
Olmsted1041375
Sherburne818965
Carver692436
Clay650280
Rice604168
Kandiyohi553471
Blue Earth538933
Crow Wing481374
Otter Tail454466
Chisago450832
Benton418685
Winona387246
Douglas373466
Nobles368746
Mower363329
Goodhue345358
Polk327956
McLeod324245
Morrison311144
Beltrami309447
Lyon300636
Becker284139
Itasca284043
Isanti281641
Carlton278543
Steele27229
Pine266013
Freeborn243420
Todd231630
Nicollet223836
Brown214534
Mille Lacs213646
Le Sueur208815
Cass207323
Meeker199233
Waseca188916
Wabasha16953
Martin169326
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139527
Renville137139
Houston135613
Dodge13384
Chippewa130932
Cottonwood126818
Fillmore12245
Wadena119616
Rock109712
Sibley10837
Aitkin107633
Watonwan10638
Faribault104616
Pennington98815
Kanabec97418
Pipestone93923
Yellow Medicine93514
Murray8785
Jackson85210
Swift83118
Pope7375
Marshall70315
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63215
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59310
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4553
Unassigned43668
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
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Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 303464

Reported Deaths: 4269
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45396448
Linn17695274
Scott15387163
Black Hawk13659236
Woodbury12953175
Johnson1204749
Dubuque11312150
Pottawattamie8942112
Dallas882171
Story863834
Webster467571
Cerro Gordo463568
Sioux453756
Clinton448861
Warren438838
Marshall425761
Buena Vista391929
Muscatine386777
Des Moines380941
Plymouth348968
Wapello341698
Jasper320458
Lee314430
Marion302152
Jones270449
Henry263430
Carroll253434
Bremer242248
Crawford228522
Boone216417
Washington214531
Benton208844
Jackson191131
Mahaska190736
Tama185857
Dickinson184226
Delaware172336
Kossuth171343
Clay166019
Wright163024
Fayette160022
Buchanan158323
Hamilton157929
Winneshiek155119
Harrison154762
Hardin154229
Cedar151819
Clayton150748
Butler146824
Page143715
Cherokee138227
Floyd138036
Mills136016
Lyon133832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129024
Allamakee126927
Iowa123922
Calhoun12209
Grundy120226
Jefferson119524
Madison11899
Winnebago118529
Mitchell115734
Louisa114330
Cass112641
Chickasaw110612
Sac110615
Emmet110331
Appanoose109838
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102424
Franklin101618
Shelby101426
Unassigned9160
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82819
Monroe80818
Clarke7847
Pocahontas77211
Ida74030
Davis68921
Greene6887
Adair68620
Lucas6488
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5993
Taylor5919
Fremont5046
Van Buren49412
Decatur4804
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
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Adams2953
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