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Aug 29, 2019

Politics: Comey violated FBI policy in handling of memos detailing interactions with Trump, inspector general finds

By Matt Zapoto

Former FBI Director James B. Comey, shown here in 2018, violated FBI policies in how he handled memos that detailed his controversial interactions with President Trump, the Justice Department inspector general found in a report released Thursday, both in engineering their release to the press and storing them at his home without telling the FBI. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Matt Zapotosky
National security reporter covering the Justice Department
Former FBI Director James B. Comey violated FBI policies in how he handled memos that detailed his controversial interactions with President Trump, the Justice Department inspector general found in a report released Thursday, both in engineering their release to the press and storing them at his home without telling the FBI.
The inspector general found that the memos — which described, among other things, how Trump had pressed Comey for loyalty and asked him about letting go an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn — were official records, and as such, Comey’s treatment of them broke the rules.
The former FBI director gave one of the memos — which included information the inspector general called “sensitive,” but unclassified — to a friend and authorized him to share its contents. He also stored four of the documents in a safe in his personal home and provided copies to his personal attorneys without FBI authorization, the inspector general found.
One of those memos was later determined to contain information, such as the names of foreign countries being discussed by Trump, that was classified as confidential, the lowest level of secrecy, the inspector general wrote.
On Twitter, Comey noted that the inspector general found “no evidence” that he or his attorneys released any classified information to the media.
“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. “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 inspector general wrote that its office gave its findings to the Justice Department to determine if Comey had committed a crime and officials declined to prosecute the case. The report was then given to the FBI and the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the inspector general wrote.

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