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
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Robinson
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Indianapolis
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 76°
Rockville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 69°
Casey
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Brazil
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Marshall
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
The Heat Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 147865

Reported Deaths: 7026
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook927814630
Lake10007423
DuPage9364475
Kane7877275
Will6957320
Winnebago310996
McHenry212097
St. Clair2037137
Kankakee131165
Rock Island106129
Madison104269
Kendall100021
Champaign96015
Boone61021
DeKalb58220
Peoria56728
Sangamon45532
Jackson34019
Randolph2887
McLean28513
Stephenson2785
Ogle2754
Clinton24217
Macon23622
LaSalle22817
Union19619
Whiteside19615
Coles17817
Grundy1775
Iroquois1645
Tazewell1528
Knox1470
Warren1450
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Williamson1334
Adams1311
Morgan1303
Jefferson10717
Lee1032
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski790
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin583
Perry581
Douglas540
Unassigned530
Livingston522
Montgomery491
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford362
Jersey351
Franklin310
Bureau302
Menard250
Mercer250
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Cumberland170
Bond161
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
White80
Lawrence70
Hamilton60
Richland40
Stark40
Gallatin30
Out of IL30
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110