“it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information”
After Trump fired him, James Comey leaked four (4) of seven (7) internal FBI memos he created regarding his interactions with Trump to a Columbia Law School professor, for the purpose of passing on the contents to a reporter. The professor did just that, and it created the basis for NY Times reporting that Trump had demanded a “loyalty” pledge and also raised the issue of shutting down the investigation into Michael Flynn.
Comey would testify to the same effect before Congress, which is when the fact of his leak came out under questioning by Susan Collins, almost by accident, and without any meaningful follow up to the bombshell testimony.
Those memos were FBI property, and were not Comey’s to remove or distribute for his personal political purposes.
That NY Times reporting created the public pressure for Rod Rosenstein, acting Attorney General since Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russia-related matters, to appoint Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. Comey admitted that creating the need for a Special Counsel was why he leaked the memos. The rest is history, and the Mueller investigation now has turned into a hunt for a crime even if not related to supposed Russia collusion.
Comey has issued tweets lately setting himself up as the most righteous man:
Given what we already knew about Comey’s leak, it seemed that Comey was for some other purpose — either because he knew something about Russia collusion that others didn’t know, or because he was trying to insulate himself from scrutiny.
Senator Chuck Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee have been trying to get information from the FBI about Comey’s memos and leak.
Yesterday Grassley released a letter that does the math and concludes that it appears that at least one of the four memos leaked by Comey was classified.
Grassley did the math in his letter, which showed that four (4) of the memos were marked as classified:
My staff has since reviewed these memoranda in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the FBI, and I reviewed them in a SCIF at the Office of Senate Security. The FBI insisted that these reviews take place in a SCIF because the majority of the memos are classified. Of the seven memos, four are marked classified at the “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” levels. Only three did not contain classified information. FBI personnel refused to answer factual questions during the document reviews, including questions about the chain of custody of the documents I was reviewing, the date that they were marked classified, and who marked them as classified.
The math means that if Comey leaked four of seven memos, and four of the seven were classified, then at least one of the memos leaked was classified:
According to press reports, Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press.” If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information. Professor Richman later read a portion of one of the memos to a New York Times reporter.
Since the Judiciary Committee doesn’t know which four of the seven, because the law professor — who is cooperating with the Special Counsel — won’t tell them:
When the Committee contacted Professor Richman seeking copies of the memos Mr. Comey had provided him, he refused to provide them, did not say how many he had received from Mr. Comey, and refused to say whether he retained copies. It is unclear whether any of the memos reviewed by the Committee were retrieved from Professor Richman. The Committee has accordingly not determined which of the seven memos Mr. Comey provided him. Professor Richman did tell Committee investigators that he was working with the Special Counsel’s Office, and he reportedly told the media that he had turned over to the FBI copies of the memos he’d received from Mr. Comey. If true, the Justice Department should know which memos were provided and be able to share that information with the Committee.
Grassley posed a number of questions to the FBI in his letter:
- Has the Justice Department or FBI in fact determined that any of the memoranda Mr. Comey sent Professor Richman contained classified information? If so, what steps were taken to retrieve and safeguard the information?
- Which of the seven memoranda the FBI made available for the Committee’s review did Mr. Comey give to Professor Richman?
- When did Mr. Comey give Professor Richman the memoranda?
- At the time that Professor Richman received the memoranda, were any marked as classified?
- At the time that Professor Richman received the memoranda, did any contain classified information, regardless of markings?
- Please explain the method by which Mr. Comey transmitted the memoranda to Professor Richman. If the transmittal was electronic:
- Please provide the account information that Mr. Comey and Mr. Richman used.
- Please describe what steps the FBI has taken to recover all copies of any classified memoranda that might reside on computers, servers, or at other locations.
- Have you initiated an investigation into the matter of whether Mr. Comey improperly disclosed classified information by providing these memoranda to Professor Richman? If so, what is the status of the investigation? If not, why not?
- Has there been any review of whether the disclosure of the memoranda by Mr. Comey was otherwise improper, such as whether it violated his employment agreement or any Department rule or policy? If so, what is the status of the review? If not, why not?
- When did the FBI mark the four memoranda as classified, and who made the classification decision?
- As noted above, it has been reported that Professor Richman returned the memoranda to the FBI. If so, on what date did this occur?
- Did anyone from the FBI or Special Counsel’s Office discuss with Professor Richman this Committee’s request for copies of the memos? If so, please provide all records related to any such communications.
- Does Professor Richman still have possession of any of the memoranda or copies?
James Comey is a close and longtime friend of Robert Mueller. Comey’s role as a witness should have been enough for Mueller to recuse himself, since friends shouldn’t be investigating friends.
If, as the math appears to show, Comey removed and distributed classified information to a friend for transmittal to the press, then Comey also should be the subject of a criminal investigation.DONATE
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