by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 10, 2017) — On Friday, President Trump’s personal attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, issued a follow-up statement to that which he made after the conclusion of former FBI Director James Comey’s sworn testimony Thursday to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Post & Email first noticed the statement on Twitter, although in an unsourced format.  It made a similar appearance on the website “onsizzle” with the blogger’s commentary below it, also lacking a source.

The Post & Email searched extensively for the statement on Kasowitz’s law firm’s website and in mainstream news sources, which carried Kasowitz’s initial remarks extensively, finally locating it interspersed in an article published at The Hill late Friday afternoon.

The statement was issued after numerous mainstream reports asserted that the “timeline” Kasowitz cited in his remarks on Thursday was inaccurate as it related to the leaking of Comey’s alleged memos to the media, and specifically, The New York Times.

The Times’s first mention of “memos” authored by Comey was in an article published on May 16.

On Thursday, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News, formerly of NBC News, wrote:

Kasowitz, in his first public appearance in the matter, accused Comey of leaking “privileged conversations” — but there is no indication the memos were classified. The lawyer then sought to dispute the timing of Comey’s account.

“In his effort to undercut former FBI director James Comey’s Senate testimony Thursday, President Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, appears to have misstated the sequence of two crucial events in the ongoing probe of the administration: Trump’s now infamous tweet implying he may have tapes of his conversations with Comey, and a New York Times article disclosing the existence of Comey’s memos about his meetings with the president,” Isikoff wrote.

On May 12, Trump suggested in a tweet that there exist recordings of conversations which took place between Comey and him prior to Comey’s firing on May 9.

In response, CNN reported, using unnamed sources “close to Comey,” that “Comey is ‘not worried about any tapes.'”

The Isikoff article quoted Kasowitz verbatim from Thursday’s presser:

Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to be entirely retaliatory. We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether this (sic) leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated.

Following The Times’s publication of the May 16 article, other mainstream media sources repeated its assertions without any reporter having claimed to have seen the memo upon which the article was allegedly based.  Writer Michael S. Schmidt stated in the article:

Politifact reported that “there was a lot of spin in Kasowitz’s statements” on Thursday, citing the same initial sentence as did Isikoff.

In a timeline of events, Politifact correctly reported that The New York Times issued an article on May 11 allegedly recounting details of a one-on-one dinner between Comey and Trump on January 27, 2017 as related by two Comey “associates.”  The article did not state whether or not the “associates” said they were reading from anything when they contacted the paper.

Politifact then expounded on Kasowitz’s reference to the May 11 article:

Kasowitz seemed to be referring to the New York Times story published May 11 — the day before Trump’s “tapes” tweet — narrating a January dinner between Trump and Comey. However, that story is not attributed to the memos, but to “two people who have heard his account of the dinner.”

Politifact included the fact that The New York Times’s Peter Baker, who assisted in writing the May 11 story, tweeted that Kasowitz’s statement contending that the article emanated from Comey “memos” was incorrect.

However, Politifact acknowledged, while stating that it had “seen no proof,” that Kasowitz alleged that Comey had been leaking government information since March.

On May 20, Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said on “Fox & Friends” of the former FBI director, “He hasn’t been silent at all; he’s been leaking information through his friends.”

On Friday afternoon, Fox News reported that the Trump administration has claimed that Comey has been leaking information “for months” on the news ticker at the bottom of the screen.  On the same day, Charles Gasparino told Neil Cavuto in a Fox Business exclusive that “Kasowitz has been investigating this — and this hasn’t been out there yet — since March, investigating whether Comey or his subordinates have been leaking certain pieces of information to New York Times reporters and these sort-of legal bloggers who are out there talking about it.  They’ve been searching this stuff out since March…”

One of Trump’s reasons for terminating Comey has been said by some to be his perception that Comey was not aggressively attempting to discover who in the U.S. intelligence community leaked classified information beginning in December, before Trump took office.

On May 12, Jack Posobiec of Rebel Media reported, “FBI source tells me Comey dropped the Susan Rice unmasking investigation bc it would have implicated himself. Developing.”

Posobiec is a recently-credentialed White House reporter.

On Thursday, Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he began leaking his memorialization of meetings he had with Trump on May 15 “because it didn’t dawn on me originally that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape. And my judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with the reporter. I didn’t do it myself, for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to.”

Unexplained is why Comey felt the need to leak one or more of his memos while testifying the same day, “‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes.’”

In Friday’s statement, Kasowitz said:

It is obvious that whomever was the source for the May 11, 2017 New York Times story got that information from the memos or from someone reading or who had the memos.

Isikoff’s claim that Kasowitz was inaccurate during his press conference on Thursday included the statements:

Kasowitz was evidently referring to an early Times story by Schmidt that did appear the day before Trump’s tweet. On May 11, Schmidt, citing accounts from Comey “associates,” described a Jan. 27 dinner the then FBI director had with Trump in which the president asked him for his “loyalty.” But the earlier story does not quote from any memos by Comey — or make any reference to the existence of such memos. And there is nothing in the story to suggest it was based on read-outs from those memos. Contacted by Yahoo News, a spokesman for Kasowitz said only: “Our statement stands.” A source close to the matter added: “It is our firm belief that the Times report [on May 11] had the memos read to them.”

In Comey’s prepared remarks released prior to Thursday’s testimony, he wrote of the January 27 dinner with Trump:

Schmidt’s May 11 article states:

Kasowitz ended his statement on Friday with:

…This makes clear, as our statement said, that Mr. Comey incorrectly testified that he never leaked the contents of the memo or details of the dinner before President Trump’s May 12, 2017 tweet.

Trump has denied The New York Times’s recounting, based on the Comey “associates'” alleged account of the January 27 dinner, that he attempted in any way to garner a pledge of “loyalty” from Comey, including at a Friday joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden.

In an exchange with ABC News’s Jonathan Karl on the subject, Karl appears to have confused Trump with Comey when he asked Trump, “And did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you? That’s another thing he said.”

The remainder of that question-and-answer period is as follows:

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No, he did not.

Q    So he said those things under oath.  Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  One hundred percent.  I didn’t say under oath — I hardly know the man.  I’m not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance.  Who would do that?  Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath?  I mean, think of it.  I hardly know the man.  It doesn’t make sense.  No, I didn’t say that, and I didn’t say the other.

Q    So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that you would be willing to talk to him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you, Jon.

Q    And you seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I’m not hinting anything.  I’ll tell you about it over a very short period of time.

Q    When is that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Okay.  Do you have a question here?

Q    When will you tell us about the recordings?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Over a fairly short period of time.

Q    Why not now?

Q    Are there tapes —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer.  Don’t worry.

Jon, do you have a question for the President?

Trump’s question to Karl referred to Iohannis, to whom Karl then posed a question.

As this article was being written, The Hill published a new piece titled, “Comey followed careful plan in leaking memos.”

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