U.S. President Donald Trump, center, shakes hands with James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

GOP Committee Chairmen Seek Comey Memos From Justice Department

(Bloomberg) -- Three Republican House committee chairmen asked the Justice Department on Friday to turn over copies of memos former FBI Director James Comey said he wrote about his Oval Office conversations with President Donald Trump.

"There is no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress," said the letter by the committee chairmen -- the Judiciary panel’s Bob Goodlatte, Intelligence’s Devin Nunes and Oversight and Government Reform’s Trey Gowdy. The letter is addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee had previously made a similar request, but Republicans on the committee blocked it in July 2017.

The Republican interest in obtaining the memos comes amid news reports on Comey’s memoir, "A Higher Loyalty," which is set to be formally released next week.

Comey has said he wrote the memos after his conversations with Trump. He testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump had asked him in February 2017 to shut down the federal investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Comey was fired in May 2017.

The three House committee chairmen asked the Justice Department to produce the memos by the the close of business on Monday. Those that contain classified material should be produced in their original form and also in a declassified version, the letter said.

Previously, the chairmen said, the FBI had only allowed select Intelligence Committee members to read the memos in a secure location.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s staff has seen seven Comey memos in a secure location at the FBI, he wrote in January.

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