The Latest: Trump claims vindication after memos released

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on former FBI Director James Comey’s memos (all times local):

12:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is claiming vindication after the release of memos from former FBI Director James Comey about their interactions together.

Trump says the memos “‘show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.”

It’s not clear what in the memos led the president to reach the conclusion.

Trump also accused Comey of having leaked classified information, though the Justice Department says the memos it provided to Congress on Thursday were in unclassified form.

Trump ended his tweet by saying, “WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?”

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10:30 p.m.

The Republican chairmen of three House committees say memos written by former FBI Director James Comey recounting conversations with President Donald Trump show that Comey never “felt obstructed or threatened.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy suggest the memos “would be Defense Exhibit A” if Trump were charged with obstruction of justice.

The chairmen released a joint statement after the memos were delivered to Congress Thursday. The Associated Press obtained the memos.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign and possible obstruction of justice by the president.

The chairmen say the memos make clear Trump “wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated.”

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9:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Russian President Vladimir Putin told him, “We have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.”

That’s according to a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey. The Associated Press obtained copies of Comey’s memos Thursday.

Comey says the comment came during a brief meeting with Trump at the White House in February 2017. Comey says Trump told him that the “hookers thing” was nonsense. The president was referring to allegations in a dossier about a possible encounter between Trump and Russian prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

Comey writes that Trump did not say when Putin had made the comment.

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9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment of his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, according to memos maintained by Comey and obtained by The Associated Press.

Days later, Trump’s chief of staff asked if Flynn’s communications were being monitored under a secret surveillance warrant.

The 15 pages of Comey memos contain new details about interactions he had with Trump in the weeks before his May 2017 firing.

Those encounters include a Trump Tower discussion involving allegations of prostitutes and Russia; a White House dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty; and a private Oval Office discussion where the ex-FBI head says the president asked him to end an investigation into Flynn.

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8:30 p.m.

The Associated Press has obtained 15 pages of memos that former FBI Director James Comey drafted about his interactions with President Donald Trump.

The Justice Department provided the documents to Congress on Thursday.

The memos include details about several interactions in the first few months of the Trump administration. They include a January 2017 dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty, and a conversation the following month about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Some of the episodes have been recounted in Comey’s congressional testimony last year and in his new book, “A Higher Loyalty.”

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7:45 p.m.

The Justice Department has sent Congress confidential memos written by former FBI Director James Comey.

In a letter sent to three Republican House committee chairmen Thursday evening, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd writes that the department is sending a classified version of the memos and an unclassified version. The department released Boyd’s letter publicly, but not the memos.

Boyd writes that the department “consulted the relevant parties” and concluded that releasing the memos would not adversely affect any ongoing investigations.

Comey revealed last year that he had written the memos after conversations with President Donald Trump, who later fired him. Some lawmakers have been able to view the memos since last summer, but copies had not been provided to Congress.

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5:30 p.m.

The Justice Department has agreed to provide three House committees with copies of several memos written by former FBI Director James Comey, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

The move comes as House Republicans have escalated criticism of the department, threatening to subpoena the documents and questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other officials. The person familiar with the agreement spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the documents had not yet been sent to Congress.

Justice officials had allowed some lawmakers to view the memos but had never provided copies to the House committees.

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