- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 11, 2017

A key Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday that former FBI Director James B. Comey’s leak of his memos detailing his private meeting with the president was “inappropriate,” but “releasing his memos [is] not damaging to national security.”

“I’m still wondering why he prospectively wanted to get out his side of his opinion,” Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said Sunday, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Mr. Comey testified last week that he leaked the memos through a friend to The New York Times after President Trump hinted he may have tapes of their private conversation.

According to Mr. Comey, the president directed him to stop the investigation into his former national security advisor Michael Flynn and also requested his loyalty — something Mr. Trump denies.

Mr. Lankford said he doubts that Mr. Trump has recordings of his private conversation with Mr. Comey, as the president has hinted the tapes exist.

“I hope there are recordings,” Mr. Lankford said. “But I doubt that they’re really there.”

Mr. Lankford said Mr. Trump’s discussion of the investigation into Mr. Flynn with the former FBI director was wrong, but that it “looks more like an inappropriate conversation than obstruction.”

Mr. Comey also testified last week that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ continued oversight of the investigation into whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia would have been problematic. Mr. Sessions did recuse himself from the investigation.

Mr. Lankford said the details surrounding Mr. Sessions’ testimony, which is scheduled for next week before the committee, are still being finalized.

“I assume that this will be public,” Mr. Lankford said. “We want to be able to get his side of it — get all the facts out there.”

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