The Department of Justice’s inspector general is investigating memos that were leaked to the media after former FBI Director James Comey gave them to a friend outside the government. At least two of the memos contained information officials now consider classified, according to those familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to The Journal, Comey removed information that he knew was classified from one of the memos, and determined that another memo had no classified information in it.
However, “as FBI director, Mr. Comey had the legal authority to determine what bureau information was classified and what wasn’t. Once he left government, however, the determination fell to other officials.” After Comey was fired from his position, bureau officials upgraded one of the leaked memos to “confidential.”
Comey admitted to leaking the memos during a testimony before Congress last year, saying he gave them to a friend to share with the media because he didn’t want to do so himself.
“My judgment was, I need to get that out into the public square,” Comey said during the hearing. “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons. I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
As noted by The Journal, “Comey’s tactics were successful.”
The memos that Comey leaked formed the basis for his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June last year during which he accused the president of trying to shut down the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election.
“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said. “I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted.”
Shortly after Comey’s firing, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Trump obstructed justice when he fired Comey.
On Thursday evening, President Donald Trump tweeted that Comey’s memos show he leaked classified information.
Comey isn’t the only former top FBI official to be involved in a DOJ inspector general investigation.
The IG has referred its criminal findings on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney’s office, The Western Journal reported Thursday.
Comey spoke about the IG’s report on McCabe during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
“It’s not OK. The McCabe case illustrates what an organization committed to the truth looks like,” Comey said. “I ordered that investigation.”
“Good people lie. I think I’m a good person, where I have lied,” he continued. “I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person but the inspector general found he lied.”
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