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
44° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Robinson
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Indianapolis
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 58°
Rockville
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Casey
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 53°
Brazil
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 44°
Marshall
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
A Cool, Sunny Weekend
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 272517

Reported Deaths: 8647
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1375805150
DuPage16488550
Lake16175484
Will13211370
Kane12444325
St. Clair6184182
Madison5231130
Winnebago5098149
McHenry4350118
Champaign429020
Peoria313048
McLean308919
Rock Island272770
Kankakee260976
Unassigned2242236
Sangamon220344
Kendall186025
LaSalle156854
Tazewell151115
DeKalb140638
Macon133734
Coles132428
Williamson128934
Jackson122024
Clinton102220
Boone99923
Adams95610
Randolph90311
Effingham7981
Whiteside67219
Grundy6165
Morgan61221
Henry6105
Monroe60515
Ogle6046
Vermilion5684
Knox5653
Bureau55710
Jefferson54437
Union49324
Marion4810
Franklin4732
Macoupin4706
Stephenson4536
McDonough43815
Logan4241
Christian41210
Woodford3835
Jersey37313
Cass37211
Iroquois34519
Shelby3424
Perry33214
Crawford3301
Lee3191
Montgomery30912
Fayette3003
Warren2941
Livingston2935
Bond2764
Douglas2725
Lawrence2422
Saline2403
Wayne2345
Jo Daviess2262
Moultrie2063
Greene2053
Carroll2024
Cumberland1894
Jasper1869
Hancock1823
Washington1791
White1550
Pulaski1531
Clark1442
Johnson1420
Fulton1400
Clay1370
Wabash1361
Richland1354
Piatt1300
Mercer1245
Mason1181
Menard1120
Edgar1085
Pike1041
De Witt931
Ford914
Massac902
Marshall850
Gallatin682
Scott670
Alexander651
Hamilton630
Henderson620
Edwards600
Stark492
Schuyler440
Putnam400
Brown360
Calhoun340
Hardin330
Pope251
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 109683

Reported Deaths: 3495
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20510758
Lake10095315
Elkhart6268107
St. Joseph593596
Allen5849198
Hamilton4589109
Vanderburgh322728
Hendricks2617120
Monroe230036
Johnson2236122
Tippecanoe214213
Clark208156
Porter201144
Cass19239
Delaware182460
Vigo173822
Madison154675
LaPorte135137
Floyd128661
Howard126163
Kosciusko117417
Bartholomew114257
Warrick109335
Marshall97524
Boone94046
Dubois92718
Hancock89842
Noble86932
Grant85833
Henry74224
Wayne73614
Jackson7279
Morgan68538
Shelby66129
LaGrange62911
Daviess62827
Dearborn61628
Clinton59012
Harrison55124
Putnam5159
Lawrence50028
Montgomery49521
White47514
Knox4689
Decatur45039
Gibson4444
DeKalb43111
Miami4223
Greene41335
Fayette41213
Jasper3752
Steuben3577
Scott35010
Sullivan32612
Jennings30712
Franklin29325
Posey2910
Clay2885
Orange28124
Ripley2788
Carroll26713
Wabash2588
Washington2511
Wells2462
Starke2457
Whitley2446
Jefferson2383
Adams2343
Fulton2292
Tipton21522
Huntington2123
Spencer2074
Randolph2037
Perry19914
Newton16711
Jay1660
Owen1641
Martin1570
Rush1494
Pike1341
Vermillion1240
Fountain1152
Pulaski1131
Blackford1092
Brown993
Crawford990
Parke932
Benton880
Ohio767
Union760
Switzerland670
Warren381
Unassigned0225