STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Justice Dept. watchdog looking into Comey's handling of memos

The Justice Department's internal watchdog has interviewed multiple individuals who saw copies of former FBI Director...

Posted: Apr 21, 2018 5:02 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2018 5:02 PM

The Justice Department's internal watchdog has interviewed multiple individuals who saw copies of former FBI Director James Comey's memos recounting his conversations with President Donald Trump prior to Thursday's widespread release, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Until now, Comey has publicly stated that he shared the memos with top officials at the FBI, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman and special counsel Robert Mueller's office. But CNN has learned of additional close associates of Comey -- outside of the FBI -- who have been questioned by the inspector general's office about precisely which memo or memos they saw and when Comey shared them, sources say.

The answers to such questions could prove critical for Comey, as the inspector general's office is expected to release a significant report in the coming weeks on how the FBI handled politically sensitive investigations related to Trump and his 2016 presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

The inspector general's office is reviewing how the former FBI director handled the memos, including whether any classified information was improperly shared, according to sources familiar with the matter.

A spokesperson for the inspector general's office declined to comment. A spokesperson for Comey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The existence of the memos was first revealed last spring when The New York Times reported Comey had written a memo suggesting Trump asked him to scuttle the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey told senators he provided that one to "a friend" to read to the Times in hopes it would prompt the appointment of a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

At the time, officials at the FBI knew Comey had memorialized his interactions with the President, but were not aware he shared the contents outside of the bureau until Comey divulged it during his testimony last June, one source explained.

"I thought it was something that needed to be done," Comey told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview on Thursday, explaining his decision to give the memo to Richman. "And a private citizen can talk about their unclassified conversations with the President."

This week the Justice Department turned over to Congress a set of seven documents, which include Comey's contemporaneous notes and emails to top FBI officials with some redactions of classified information. Lawmakers were also provided fully unredacted documents to review in a secure setting on Capitol Hill.

Earlier this year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and other Republican lawmakers raised questions about Comey's handling of classified information.

"If it's true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information," Grassley wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein while asking for further clarification.

In Comey's book "A Higher Loyalty" released this week, the memo that he focuses on the most is the February 2017 one detailing the Flynn conversation, which, according to the copy of the memo obtained by CNN, does not contain any redactions.

But Comey said Thursday he could not recall exactly how many memos in total were classified.

"I don't know exactly how many there are," Comey told Tapper. "Some may be memos, some may be e-mails. ... And I think some of them -- I know when I created some of them, they were classified, but I don't know how many of that group."

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the Justice Department's inspector general is investigating at least two memos alleged to contain classified information that Comey shared with Richman. The newspaper reports that Comey himself redacted portions of one memo before sharing it and that a second memo was later determined by FBI officials to be classified "confidential," the lowest level of classification.

Terre Haute
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 54°
Robinson
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 53°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
49° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 45°
Rockville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 48°
Casey
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 56°
Brazil
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 54°
Marshall
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 54°
Breezy, warmer Wednesday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 292082

Reported Deaths: 8858
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1443155217
DuPage17589561
Lake16953487
Will14045378
Kane13159326
St. Clair6665190
Winnebago6037149
Madison5760137
Champaign473320
McHenry4609118
Peoria351050
McLean329523
Rock Island302676
Kankakee275277
Unassigned2532244
Sangamon243245
Kendall202025
Tazewell178025
LaSalle172557
DeKalb159038
Macon156044
Coles147231
Williamson140645
Jackson126224
Clinton119020
Adams114910
Boone112823
Randolph94111
Effingham8722
Vermilion7914
Whiteside75320
Ogle7286
Monroe68016
Knox6723
Grundy6705
Henry6665
Morgan66223
Bureau65211
Jefferson62038
Marion5661
Christian55411
Macoupin5507
Franklin5413
Stephenson5296
Union51524
McDonough48215
Logan4681
Crawford4584
Woodford4266
Fayette4183
Livingston4036
Cass39811
Jersey39415
Shelby3944
Lee3831
Montgomery37613
Iroquois36719
Perry35315
Saline3464
Warren3332
Bond3305
Douglas3147
Wayne2805
Jo Daviess2662
Lawrence2592
Carroll2355
Greene22911
Cumberland2185
Hancock2183
Moultrie2183
Washington2161
Jasper2139
Richland2136
Pulaski1811
Fulton1780
Clark1742
White1690
Wabash1583
Clay1560
Johnson1560
Mason1531
Mercer1405
Piatt1390
Pike1341
De Witt1252
Menard1251
Edgar1138
Massac1132
Ford1055
Marshall1050
Alexander831
Scott790
Gallatin732
Hamilton712
Henderson690
Edwards640
Brown620
Calhoun600
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler500
Hardin400
Pope291
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226