(National Sentinel) Violations: The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General is probing classified issues regarding two memos fired FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of government, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The memos contained information that government officials now considered classified, according to sources familiar with the matter, the paper reported.
Comey gave a total of four memos to friend Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Columbia University School of Law, sources said. Three were considered unclassified at the time and one was classified.
The fired FBI director has testified before Congress his hope in leaking the memos was to spur a special counsel probe of President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign over alleged “collusion” with Russia.
The WSJ noted further:
Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.
Mr. Comey has said he considered the memos personal rather than government documents. He has told Congress that he wrote them and authorized their release to the media “as a private citizen.”
As FBI director, Comey had the authority to determine what information was and was not classified. But after Trump fired him, the task was left to the government.
Comey’s alleged mishandling of classified information echoes that of Hillary Clinton’s similar mishandling, a case that Comey led during his tenure as FBI director.
He predetermined that she would be exonerated, then said during a bizarre press conference in July 2016 he believed “no reasonable prosecutor” would have pursued a case against her.
He also said he found that Clinton did not intend to break any laws governing the handling of classified information, though intent is not a legal standard contained in the statutes.
Rep. Ron Desantis, R-Fla., tweeted that the IG’s probe of Comey’s classified memo release is “just the beginning.”
“Referral of Comey due to transmitting classified info was justified and this IG action is probably just the beginning. By leaking two classified memos for political purposes, Comey will have a hard time demonstrating that his actions were lawful,” he wrote.
Referral of Comey due to transmitting classified info was justified and this IG action is probably just the beginning. By leaking two classified memos for political purposes, Comey will have a hard time demonstrating that his actions were lawful. https://t.co/m4FdIWUJqM
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 20, 2018