Judge rules FBI must release some redacted sections of Comey memos

A federal judge ruled Friday that the FBI must release some of the redacted sections of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien Comey3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Barr predicts progressive prosecutors will lead to 'more crime, more victims' James Comey shows our criminal justice system works as intended MORE’s memos of his conversations with President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE.

James E. Boasberg of the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the redactions must be released in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought against the FBI by CNN, saying that the agency’s publication of redacted memos on its website and the conclusion of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s report led him to his decision.

ADVERTISEMENT

Boasberg ruled in 2018 that the memos would remain redacted amid Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

CNN’s request surrounds memos Comey wrote following several conversations with the president.

The former FBI director said he wrote the notes down out of fear that the president would try to mischaracterize their meetings. 

Friday’s ruling deals with a batch of several redactions from the memos, choosing to order the release of some and allowing the government to keep secret some others.

One batch, which Boasberg ruled would be partially unredacted, concerns a conversation Trump had with former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. The discussion appears to regard which world leader called Trump first to congratulate him after his inauguration.

The FBI had argued that relationships with different countries could be damaged if the exchange was unredacted.

Comey’s memos regarding Flynn have been significant in the past, as they revealed that Trump asked Comey to halt the FBI’s investigation into the then-national security adviser, a move several observers have said could have obstructed justice.

Boasberg also ordered that an exchange between Comey and Trump regarding Egypt’s president be partially redacted. He allowed a redaction containing “a reference about the President’s observation about responding to a question he was asked about Russian President Putin” would be allowed to remain secret.