The New York Times is reporting that former FBI Director James Comey appears to be the target of a new Justice Department investigation into whether classified material was illegally leaked to journalists in 2017.
Reportedly at the center of the probe are a pair of 2017 news articles, one published in the Washington Post and another in the Times, that publicized information about a Russian document that surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The document contained claims of “a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department” on the Hillary Clinton emails investigation, according to the Post’s report in May 2017. Citing “people familiar with its contents,” the Post reported that the document had “long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake.”
Was Comey that anonymous leaker? The DOJ wants to find out, according to the Times.
Leaking classified materials
Comey has already been called out for improper handling of classified material. In September, Comey was condemned by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz for having leaked classified memos about private conversations with President Donald Trump.
“The OIG determined that Comey violated applicable policies and his FBI Employment Agreement by providing one of the unclassified memos that contained official FBI information, including sensitive investigative information, to his friend with instructions for the friend to share the contents of the memo with a reporter,” a press release concerning the August report read.
“Additionally, the OIG determined that Comey, while FBI Director, kept copies of four of the seven memos in a personal safe at his home and, after his removal as FBI Director, violated FBI policies and his FBI Employment agreement by failing to notify the FBI that he had retained them, or to seek authorization to retain them,” it continued.
The report went on to conclude that “Comey likewise violated applicable policies and his FBI Employment Agreement by providing copies, following his removal as FBI Director, of the four memos he had kept in his home to his three private attorneys without FBI authorization.”
While Comey could have faced prosecution, the Department of Justice ultimately decided not to pursue the case.
Justice potentially pending?
President Donald Trump reacted to the OIG’s findings with outrage, tweeting, “Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just released Inspector General’s Report. He should be ashamed of himself!”
Trump wasn’t along in his sentiments, with Sen. Lindsay Graham declaring, “This is the first of what I expect will be several more ugly and damning rebukes of senior DOJ and FBI officials regarding their actions and biases toward the Trump campaign of 2016.”
However, despite the findings, Comey himself seemed to have little remorse, tweeting, “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”