Another Republican maneuver to protect Trump is faltering.
If you thought Republicans' decision earlier this year to release the so-called Nunes memo in an attempt to discredit investigations into Trump backfired badly, the release of the Comey memos may be turn out even worse for them.
Republicans are arguably actively trying to interfere and damage ongoing investigations into Trump, and apparently thought that "leaking" the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote about his meetings with Trump last year would trip Comey up.
Instead, it's doing just the opposite.
The memos not only confirm many of the claims Comey has made publicly as he promotes his book "Higher Loyalty: A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership." They also paint a highly damning portrait of Trump.
Thanks to the Comey memos, Trump now seems to be caught in an obvious lie regarding his infamous trip to Moscow in 2013 in connection with the Miss Universe pageant, which he owned.
It was there, according to the Trump dossier, written by a former British intelligence operative, that Trump spent a night at the Ritz-Carlton hotel with Russian prostitutes and paid them to “perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him."
That lurid episode was part of the dossier's larger conclusion that Trump has made himself susceptible to Russian blackmail.
While key parts of the dossier have checked out, Trump has denied the "golden showers" claim. According to the memos, Trump stressed to Comey that he hadn't even stayed overnight at a Moscow hotel during his Miss Universe trip in 2013.
It makes very little sense for Trump to travel halfway around the world to Russian, then leave Moscow immediate, without even spending the night, to fly back to New York.
And that may be why Trump's longtime head of security, Kurt Schiller, reportedly told investigators a different story about the Moscow trip.
Testifying behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee, Schiller denied Trump spent the night with Russian prostitutes. But Schiller did confirm Trump spent the night at the Ritz-Carlton:
Schiller testified that he stood outside Trump's hotel room for a time and then went to bed. One source noted that Schiller testified he eventually left Trump's hotel room door and could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.
Someone's lying about the crucial Moscow trip, either Trump or his longtime confidant, Schiller.
Meanwhile, journalists remain puzzled why Republicans demanded access to Comey's memos, and then promptly leaked them to the press.
What exactly were House Republicans hoping to accomplish by demanding the full release of these memos? Nothing I’ve read seems to change Comey’s story and if anything, these memos give more, not less, credence to the dossier.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) April 20, 2018
As CNN reported, "The documents written by the then-FBI director, detailing his interactions with Trump, present a contemporaneous and deeply unflattering view of a President throwing his weight around in his first days in the White House — that at the very least seems highly inappropriate."
This is a gang that can't shoot straight.