A federal judge has ruled that the FBI must un-redact more portions of former Director James Comey’s memos about his meetings with President Donald Trump, in response to a lawsuit from CNN.
Much from the memos has been released publicly, but some parts remain redacted. The Justice Department previously confirmed that all of Comey’s memos about conversations with Trump were part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
Friday’s ruling allows for the release of the names of countries and world leaders referenced in conversation between the President and Comey, as described in Comey’s memo. In the conversation, the President is explaining to Comey why he has concerns about his national security adviser Michael Flynn and describing his dismay about how Flynn had handled scheduling of calls from world leaders.
The judge ruled that the FBI did not provide sufficient argument as to why revealing this detail would be harmful to national security. But he did uphold one redaction in which the President spoke disparagingly about a country.
“Given the statement and context, the Court has no trouble following the link offered by the FBI between disclosure and harm to national security,” Judge James Boasberg wrote.
The judge also allowed for two redactions regarding the names of world leaders be revealed, though he upheld that others continue to be redacted as they reflect Trump’s impressions of certain leaders.
The Justice Department has said these redactions obscure information about intelligence gathering regarding foreign relations – and some parts could reveal whether foreign surveillance was used to gather information about Flynn. The department argued as recently as March that releasing other information in the Comey memos could hurt the then-ongoing Mueller investigation.
The lawsuit over access to the memos – one of the longest standing efforts to unveil evidence from the investigation – has been ongoing since June 2017, shortly after Mueller was appointed as special counsel.