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GOP rep: Comey memos may bolster Trump defense against collusion charges

A Republican House lawmaker says the memos former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMcGahn departs as White House counsel Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race FBI investigated media leak of McCabe comment about Flynn and Trump MORE wrote last year documenting his interactions with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE may ultimately help the president's defense against charges that his campaign colluded with Russia.

"The one member of Congress that I know who has seen them without sharing the contents has told me that they would be Exhibit A in Donald Trump’s defense to any charges against collusion with the Russians," Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHouse Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein Senate passes key cyber bill cementing cybersecurity agency at DHS Hillicon Valley: Trump stuns with election interference claim against China | FCC limits fees for 5G | Uber reaches 8M settlement over breach | Fox sells Sky stake to Comcast | House passes bills to fix cyber vulnerabilities MORE (R-Texas) told Fox News on Monday.

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His remarks come after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) asked the Department of Justice on Friday to provide copies of the memos in unredacted form.

In a letter addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the three Republican House chairmen argued that they have a legal basis to review them as part of their congressional power to conduct oversight.

Last year, Comey revealed during an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had authorized a friend of his, a law professor at Columbia University, to leak the contents of at least one memo to the press in an effort to "prompt the appointment of a special counsel."

While it is unclear how much Comey shared with his friend, Daniel Richman, the lawmakers appear interested in viewing more than one memo. 

Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, argued that if Richman and reporters can view such content, House lawmakers should be able to as well. 

"Up to this point, the Department of Justice has said that law professors and reporters can see those, but members of Congress including the Chairmen of the [House] Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee with security clearances have not been able to see them," Ratcliffe told Fox.

"So I think that is an outrageously untenable position. We’ve demand that we see them and I think that we will get to see them," he continued.

During his congressional testimony, Comey said he wrote the memos because he felt the president inappropriately asked him to pledge his loyalty to him while he was spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

He also said Trump asked him to drop his investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired after reports revealed that he had lied to investigators about his contacts with a Russian diplomat.

Comey has also maintained that he did not disclose classified information in the contents he gave to Richman, describing the records he shared as personal recollections of his interactions with the president. Some critics, however, have disputed this claim.

Comey has recently began stepping back into the spotlight since his firing last May, ahead of his new book set to be released on Tuesday.

According to excerpts of the book released last week, Comey takes personal shots at the president, commenting on Trump's physical appearance and the strength of his moral fiber — remarks that have been met with criticism by those who say he is politicizing the FBI and unfairly attacking the president.

Trump has, in response, also repeatedly taken to Twitter to blast the ousted FBI chief as an “untruthful slimeball” and “leaker,” celebrating that he was the one to fire Comey from the FBI.