Former FBI Director James Comey is under investigation for his handling of classified information, specifically regarding memos he wrote that described private interactions he had with President Donald Trump.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed that his office is investigating the former FBI director during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.
The announcement followed a question from committee Chairman Chuck Grassley regarding Comey’s conduct.
“Former Director Comey said on television the inspector general interviewed him about the handling of his memos of conversations with President Trump. Some of those memos contained classified information. Comey said he did not expect a report on his handling of classified information because ‘it’s frivolous,'” Grassley said.
“Are you investigating Comey’s handling of his memos? And does that include the classification issues and should Mr. Comey expect a report when it is complete?” he asked.
“We received a referral on that from the FBI,” Horowitz responded. “We are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete.”
In a testimony before Congress last year, Comey admitted he shared memos with the intention of leaking to the press and spurring the appointment of a special counsel.
However, he denied that doing so was the same as leaking classified information.
“I didn’t consider it part of an FBI file,” Comey said. “It was my personal aide-memoire…I always thought of it as mine.”
Although Comey claimed that he didn’t believe the memos would trigger security classification, Fox News noted that in seven of the memos Comey handed over to Congress in April, eight of the 15 pages had redactions under classified exceptions.
This announcement from the inspector general comes a week after a report released by the OIG which showed Comey also used a private email account to conduct official FBI business.
“We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business. We cite five examples of such use in this section and include information provided by Comey and Rybicki about Comey’s use of a personal email account,” the report states.
“Comey stated that he did not use his personal email or laptop for classified or sensitive information, such as grand jury information. Comey told us that he only used his personal email and laptop ‘when I needed to word process an unclassified [document] that was going to be disseminated broadly, [such as a] public speech or public email to the whole organization.'”
“We found that, given the absence of exigent circumstances and the frequency with which the use of personal email occurred, Comey’s use of a personal email account on multiple occasions for unclassified FBI business to be inconsistent with the DOJ Policy Statement,” the report continued.
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