(National Sentinel) Political intrigue: Fired FBI Director James Comey’s political theatrics during his much-anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday has ensnared a close friend in a potential crime: Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman, who allegedly helped Comey leak his infamous “let this go” memo to the press.
As reported by Breitbart News, a powerful bipartisan group of senators – Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-DE) — the chairs and ranking Democrats of the Senate Judiciary Committe and its National Security Subcommittee – have demanded that Richman produce the memo as part of the chamber’s ongoing probe into Russian election interference:
[The four] sent a letter Thursday to Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman demanding he provide them with the original memo he supposedly leaked to CNN on Comey’s say-so.
The letter calls the memo, reported to describe President Donald Trump telling Comey to go easy on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, “relevant to the Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigative efforts.”
The letter also demanded all other memoranda Comey may have provided Richman, and gave him only until midnight Friday. Breitbart News cannot confirm or deny if Richman complied with the Senators’ demands.
Richman confirmed to media outlets this week that he was Comey’s go-to guy to help the former FBI head leak the memo to the media. That ended all speculation after Comey admitted under oath during his testimony that he was the one who facilitated the leak of the memo.
After being identified publicly, Richman went into hiding, Breitbart noted, “and has not been seen in his Brooklyn neighborhood since. His disappearance from view as the request for the memo pends has raised questions about the memo, the validity of which Comey swore by in his Thursday tesitmony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson tweeted skeptically regarding the developments, noting that it’s odd now that Comey says he doesn’t have a copy of his own memo:
Famed constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, no conservative, wrote Thursday that he believes Comey may well have violated federal law by releasing the memo, which was a government document:
The problem is that Comey’s description of his use of an FBI computer to create memoranda to file suggests that these are arguably government documents. Comey admitted that he thought he raised the issue with his staff and recognized that they might be needed by the Department or Congress. They read like a type of field 302 form, which are core investigatory documents.
The admission of leaking the memos is problematic given the overall controversy involving leakers undermining the Administration. Indeed, it creates a curious scene of a former director leaking material against the President after the President repeatedly asked him to crack down on leakers.
Besides being subject to Nondisclosure Agreements, Comey falls under federal laws governing the disclosure of classified and nonclassified information. Assuming that the memos were not classified (though it seems odd that it would not be classified even on the confidential level), there is 18 U.S.C. § 641 which makes it a crime to steal, sell, or convey “any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof.”
There are also ethical and departmental rules against the use of material to damage a former represented person or individual or firm related to prior representation.
He added: “I find Comey’s admission to be deeply troubling from a professional and ethical standpoint. Would Director Comey have approved such a rule for FBI agents?
“Comey’s statement of a good motivation does not negate the concerns over his chosen means of a leak. Moreover, the timing of the leak most clearly benefited Comey not the cause of a Special Counsel. It was clear at that time that a Special Counsel was likely. More importantly, Comey clearly understood that these memos would be sought. That leads inevitably to the question of both motivation as well as means,” he added.
Comey’s theatrics are now coming under closer congressional scrutiny. That’s a good thing, considering most in D.C. are under the impression that he may have pulled this stunt as part of some elaborate scheme to bring down the president.
UPDATE: The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is also seeking the Comey memo.