The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has refused Congress’ request to turn over the memos that sacked Director James Comey wrote in which he detailed his interactions with President Donald Trump.
Both the House Oversight Committee and the Intelligence Committee requested the memos in early May after The New York Times reported that Comey noted in one of them that Trump had asked him to end the investigation into the links his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, had had with Russia.
In a letter to Republican committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, the FBI’s assistant director for congressional affairs, Gregory Brower, on Thursday said the agency cannot turn over the memo until it consults with Robert Mueller, the newly appointed special counsel heading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, Efe news reported.
After Mueller’s appointment “and other considerations” the FBI is conducting “appropriate consultations” to ensure that “all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated”, Brower said.
The FBI official added, though, that the bureau will update the committee “as soon as possible”.
In response to the letter, Chaffetz on Thursday repeated the committee’s demand to be provided with the memos by June 8.
“Congress and the American public have a right and a duty to examine this issue independently of the special counsel’s investigation,” Chaffetz said.
“I trust and hope you understand this and make the right decision – to produce these documents to the committee immediately and on a voluntary basis,” he added.
Congress, simultaneously with different federal agencies, is conducting several investigations to determine possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin to interfere in the presidential election to hurt the chances of Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Earlier this week, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan told Congress that Russia “brazenly” interfered in the US election process.
He confirmed that Russian officials made contact with Trump’s team, although he said he was unable to confirm if – in the final analysis – there had been collusion between them with an eye toward ensuring Clinton’s defeat.