Columbia University Law School professor Daniel Richman, a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey, disputed a report from The Hill Monday that memos Comey shared with him contained classified information — but his pal’s past statements could refute the professor’s contentions.
Officials who looked over the memos and told The Hill that four of the documents were marked by the FBI for having “Confidential” as well as “Secret” information.
However, Richman argued otherwise.
“No memo was given to me that was marked ‘classified,'” Daniel Richman told CNN Monday. “No memo was passed on to the [New York] Times.”
Comey, however, previously said in a press statement on July 5, 2016 regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server that documents may not necessarily need to be marked to be considered classified.
“Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the emails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 that he provided Richman with a copy of at least one memo of information about a past conversation he had with President Donald Trump about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“If there’s one individual I think that would know what is classified information or not it would be Jim Comey and Jim Comey testified in front of me publicly that he wrote those memos,” Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner told The Daily Caller Monday. “Some of the memos at least, though he acknowledged that some were classified, but he wrote some of those memos in a way so that they would not be classified so that if they needed to become public, they could do so.”
Warner added, “Now there have been reports that there may have been after the fact classification. I want to find out if that’s true. Number one and number two. Who was the individual who made that determination.”
Comey was questioned by Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt if he “considered [the memo], somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?”
The former FBI director responded, “Correct.”
He went on to say, “I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.”
Comey explained, “I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership.”
He added, “My view was that the content of those unclassified memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.”
According to Comey, he gave Richman the memo in hopes that the Columbia professor would leak it to The New York Times and the story would trigger the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel.