Investigative Group

Sources: Comey Shared Classified Memos With Friend

Former FBI Director James Comey gave his friend, a Columbia law professor, four memos he wrote after conversations with President Donald Trump, including two documents containing classified information, sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Comey’s handling of the memos has prompted an investigation from the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

An investigation of Comey, which TheDCNF has not independently confirmed, would be a significant twist for the former FBI director, who is currently on tour promoting his new book, “A Higher Loyalty.”

Much of the book deals with Comey’s interactions with President Trump prior to his firing on May 9, 2017. Comey wrote at least seven memos following those meetings and conversations. Comey did so because he was concerned Trump “might lie” about the nature of their meetings, the former FBI director said.

After months of stonewalling, the Justice Department gave the documents to Congress on April 19.

Comey gave four of those memos to Daniel Richman, his friend and a professor at Columbia Law School. Richman relayed the contents of some of the memos to The New York Times following Comey’s ouster. During a Feb. 14, 2017, meeting at the White House, Trump asked Comey to back off of an investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn, The Times reported.

That Feb. 14 memo was unclassified, but at least two others Comey gave to Richman contained classified information, according to The Journal. Comey redacted portions of one of the memos he knew were classified before sharing the document with Richman. But he provided another memo in unredacted form the FBI later determined to contain information classified as “confidential” — the lowest classification category.

Comey leaked memos to Richman in order to prompt the appointment of a special counsel to take over the Russia investigation, the former FBI director testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017.

“And my judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square. And so 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. But I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. And so I asked a close friend of mine to do it,” Comey said.

Comey has given Richman another title in addition to “friend.” Richman is also Comey’s attorney, the “Higher Loyalty” author recently revealed. That relationship could potentially complicate any investigation into Comey’s handling of classified information.

That Richman had extensive access to the FBI during Comey’s tenure, a congressional source told TheDCNF. An FBI official told Congress Richman enjoyed an “open door” policy because of his relationship to Comey, the source said.

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