The FBI on Friday refused to hand over to The Washington Times unclassified memos that former Director James Comey wrote describing his meetings with President Trump because they are part of a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding.

The denial of the documents, whose existence was made known and whose release was encouraged by Mr. Comey himself, was a response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Times. It came as CNN and the New York Times filed lawsuits against the FBI after the bureau failed to respond to similar requests within a specified amount of time.

“The records responsive to your request are law enforcement records,” states the FBI’s FOIA denial letter sent Friday. “There is a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records, and release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

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