The conclusions are damning.
A report released Thursday by the Justice Department inspector general accused former FBI Director James Comey of blatantly violating his responsibilities as a top law enforcement officer when he kept copies of bureau material, gave some of it to his attorneys and leaked a memo to The New York Times in an effort to attack President Donald Trump.
And it used Comey’s own words to make its case.
The 79-page report contains the results of the inspector general’s investigation into Comey’s decision in May 2017 to give a memo he had written regarding private conversations with Trump to a friend who was also his attorney. The friend then provided the material to The Times.
The document leak took place after Comey was fired as the FBI director, and Comey has admitted he orchestrated the events in the hopes of sparking the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate allegations of “collusion” between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government.
That independent counsel was appointed, of course, and turned up no evidence of any collusion — though its investigation did plague the Trump presidency for two years.
In the report released Thursday, the inspector general made it clear that Comey had stepped way over the line by releasing FBI documents to suit his own agenda.
The conclusion quoted Comey’s words from a March 2017 appearance before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence when he declined to discuss the FBI’s own investigation into Russian “collusion.”
“Our ability to share details with the Congress and the American people is limited when those investigations are still open, which I hope makes sense,” the report quoted Comey as saying. “We need to protect people’s privacy. … We just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we’re doing it.”
Within two months, however, Comey himself was violating that principle, and the inspector general’s report was unsparing in its criticism.
“The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties,” the IG’s report concluded.
“On occasion, some of these employees may disagree with decisions by prosecutors, judges, or higher ranking FBI and Department officials about the actions to take or not take in criminal and counterintelligence matters. They may even, in some situations, distrust the legitimacy of those supervisory, prosecutorial, or judicial decisions. But even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information.”
“Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. 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 acknowledged Comey’s claim that he had taken the action because “I love this country … and I love the Department of Justice, and I love the FBI” — as opposed to, say, because he was a power-hungry bureaucrat and petty enough to use national security documents to get revenge on a president who’d fired him.
But the conclusion made it clear that no rationalization excused the action he actually took.
“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 stated.
“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.”
What happens to Comey after this is still unclear.
The final line of the conclusion: “The OIG has provided this report to the FBI and to the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility for action they deem appropriate.”
However, some things are certain.
One by one, the left’s champions are falling apart. The special counsel investigation Comey wanted to spark turned into an embarrassing, hideously expensive dud.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated appearance before Congress (anticipated by liberals anyway) turned into a humiliating sideshow.
And now, the inspector general’s office of the Justice Department is slamming liberal champion Comey for leaking information to the anti-Trump New York Times.
The evidence keeps mounting that the anti-Trump administration efforts among the left, in the media and in Washington’s deep state have more to do with attempting to destroy the constitutionally elected president than any misguided love of country, as Comey claimed.
The evidence keeps mounting. And the conclusions are damning.
CORRECTION, Aug. 30, 2019: This article originally described some material Comey released as “classified.” The inspector general’s report did not find Comey had released classified information.
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