Watchdog: Comey violated FBI policies in handling of memos

Former FBI Director James Comey violated FBI policies in his handling of memos documenting private conversations with President Donald Trump, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday.

Posted: Aug 29, 2019 1:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Director James Comey violated FBI policies in his handling of memos documenting private conversations with President Donald Trump, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday.

The watchdog office said Comey broke bureau rules by giving one memo containing unclassified information to a friend with instructions to share the contents with a reporter. Comey also failed to notify the FBI after he was dismissed in May 2017 that he had retained some of the memos in a safe at home, the report said.

LINK | SEE THE REPORT HERE

“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees_and the many thousands more former FBI employees_who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information,” the report says.

The report is the second in as many years to criticize Comey’s actions as FBI director, following a separate inspector general rebuke for decisions made during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The findings were likely to be embraced by Trump, who fired Comey and regards him as one of his principal antagonists in a law enforcement community he sees as biased against him.

But the report denied Trump and his supporters, who have repeatedly accused Comey of leaking classified information, total vindication. It found that none of the information shared by him or his attorneys with anyone in the media was classified, and the Justice Department has declined to prosecute Comey.

At issue in the report are seven memos Comey wrote between January 2017 and April 2017 about conversations with Trump that he found unnerving or unusual.

These include a Trump Tower briefing at which Comey advised the president-elect that there was salacious and unverified information about his ties to Moscow circulating in Washington; a dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for loyalty and an Oval Office meeting weeks later at which Comey says the president asked him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

One week after he was fired, Comey provided a copy of the memo about Flynn to Dan Richman, his personal lawyer and a close friend, and instructed him to share the contents with a specific reporter from The New York Times.

Comey has said he wanted to make details of that conversation public to prompt the appointment of a special counsel to lead the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel one day after the story broke.

The inspector general’s office found Comey’s rationale lacking.

“In a country built on the rule of law, it is of utmost importance that all FBI employees adhere to Department and FBI policies, particularly when confronted by what appear to be extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions. Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure,” the report says.

“What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome,” it adds.

Comey said he considered his memos to be personal rather than government documents, and it never would’ve occurred to him to give them back to the FBI after he was fired. The inspector general’s office disagreed, citing policy that FBI employees must give up all documents with FBI information once they leave the bureau.

FBI agents retrieved four of Comey’s memos from his house weeks after he was fired.

Richman declined to comment Thursday. But Comey noted on Twitter that the inspector general found no evidence he or his lawyers ever shared classified information with reporters.

“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a “sorry we lied about you” would be nice,” he wrote.

He also added: “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me “going to jail” or being a “liar and a leaker”_ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”

The report concludes one of several investigations that Inspector General Michael Horowitz has conducted into the actions of senior FBI officials in the last three years. The office last year released a lengthy report examining the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, and is now wrapping up a separate probe of the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Also last year, the watchdog office concluded that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had misrepresented under oath his involvement in a news media disclosure, and referred him for possible prosecution. That matter remains open with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington.

___

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Terre Haute
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 57°
Robinson
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 55°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 57°
Paris
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 56°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 56°
Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 57°
Terre Haute
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Partly to mostly sunny and pleasant
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

MARSHALL RED HILL

Image

BARR REEVE BLOOMFIELD

Image

WASH CATH VIN RIV

Image

NORTH DAVIESS SULLIVAN

Image

MT VERNON POSEY WASHINGTON

Image

DUGGER RIVERTON PARKE

Image

LINTON GBB STATE FINALS

Image

THN LAF JEFF

Image

Overnight: Scattered showers possible. Low: 40°

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 1183569

Reported Deaths: 22675
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4731949339
DuPage765421193
Will64803887
Lake59315919
Kane50595714
Winnebago28297438
Madison27896453
St. Clair25341466
McHenry24249265
Champaign18055124
Peoria16868262
Sangamon16094217
McLean14560157
Tazewell13490239
Rock Island13042286
Kankakee12468189
Kendall1101685
LaSalle10764219
Macon9432185
Vermilion8547115
DeKalb8241112
Adams7997114
Williamson6789119
Boone591971
Whiteside5917147
Clinton556689
Coles518491
Grundy510863
Knox5015131
Ogle500373
Jackson459860
Effingham449269
Macoupin434479
Henry432256
Marion4257111
Livingston418176
Franklin414265
Stephenson408575
Monroe405883
Jefferson3972115
Randolph395878
Woodford366360
Morgan358276
Montgomery348667
Lee334343
Logan330653
Bureau330073
Christian329767
Fayette306452
Perry304157
Fulton284344
Iroquois276960
Jersey249246
Douglas243432
McDonough231740
Lawrence229524
Saline229247
Union218436
Shelby213634
Crawford200522
Bond190224
Cass188222
Pike168750
Clark168129
Wayne166948
Hancock166829
Warren166444
Richland163538
Jo Daviess160522
White160125
Washington158023
Ford157945
Carroll157434
Edgar154237
Moultrie148722
Clay142941
Greene137631
Johnson134712
Piatt132114
Wabash129912
Mason127841
Mercer127733
De Witt127622
Massac126933
Cumberland119118
Jasper110617
Menard10348
Marshall83614
Hamilton78715
Schuyler6755
Pulaski6705
Brown6606
Stark54022
Edwards52310
Henderson49814
Calhoun4782
Scott4481
Alexander4478
Gallatin4364
Putnam4143
Hardin34412
Pope2823
Out of IL70
Unassigned02215

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433