The Justice Department is now investigating James Comey over allegations that he leaked classified information by secretly giving memos to his friend, Daniel Richman, to release to the media on order to damage Donald Trump.
In a bombshell report, the Wall Street Journal claims DOJ officials have determined at least two of the four memos Comey leaked through Richman contained classified information, at least some of which was classified at the time it was leaked.
At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, according to people familiar with the matter, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.
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.
The DOJ is now looking into the matter, the WSJ continued.
The Justice Department inspector general is now conducting an investigation into classification issues related to the Comey memos, according to a person familiar with the matter. 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.”
The leaked memos contained details of conversations between Comey and Trump when Comey was still director of the FBI. Comey admitted last summer he’d passed the memos onto his friend Richman, a former federal prosecutor, and told him to leak them to the media.
“Comey said he instructed the professor to provide information on the memos because he felt the investigation may have reached the point at which a special counsel needed to be appointed,” Business Insider reported at the time.
The memos contained claims that Trump had demanded Comey’s “loyalty” and pressed him to publicly state the president was not under criminal investigation.
The news that Comey may have leaked classified information when he funneled the memos to the media comes just days after the release of his exposé on the whole debacle, which fell flatter than a pancake at retailers.