by WorldTribune Staff, August 1, 2019
A month after he was fired by President Donald Trump, FBI agents visited the home of ex-FBI Director James Comey and collected “as evidence” four memos that allegedly detail conversations he had with the president, according to documents obtained by government watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Meanwhile, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s team referred Comey for possible prosecution under the classified information protection laws, but DOJ prosecutors have reportedly decided to decline prosecuting the ex-FBI chief.
“Prosecutors found the IG’s findings compelling but decided not to bring charges because they did not believe they had enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law,” The Hill’s John Solomon reported July 31, citing multiple sources.
But, Solomon noted, Comey and others inside the FBI and the DOJ during his tenure may face greater legal jeopardy in ongoing probes by Horowitz and John Durham. Those investigations are focused on the origins of the Russia investigation that included a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign at the end of the 2016 election, a source told Solomon.
“There are significant issues emerging with how the FISA was handled and other conduct in the investigation, and everyone involved remains under scrutiny,” a source told Solomon.
Comey was fired by Trump on May 9, 2017. The memos obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit were collected from Comey by FBI agents at his home on June 7, 2017.
The memos obtained by Judicial Watch are dated February 14, 2017; March 30, 2017; April 11, 2017; and one is dated “last night at 6:30 pm.”
The FBI documents also revealed that Comey recalled writing two other memos after conversations with Trump that he claimed were “missing.”
“These extraordinary FBI docs further confirm that James Comey should never have had FBI files on President Trump at his home and that the FBI failed to secure and protect these private and classified files,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Mr. Comey’s illegal leaking of these FBI files as part of his vendetta against President Trump (directly resulting in the corrupt appointment of Robert Mueller) ought to be the subject of a criminal investigation.”
Judicial Watch also received a newly declassified FBI document dated June 16, 2017 in which FBI agents describe Comey telling them that he had written two additional Trump meeting memos that he could no longer find:
The June 16, 2017 document states:
“Former FBI Director James Comey was interviewed at his residence at [redacted]. This interview was scheduled in advance, for the purpose of providing certain classified memoranda (memos) to Comey for review. After being advised of the identity of the interviewing Agents and the nature of the interview, Comey provided the following information:
“After reviewing the memos, Comey spontaneously stated, to the best of his recollection, two were missing:
“In the first occurrence, Comey said at an unknown date and time, between January 7, 2017, which Comey believed was the date of his briefing at Trump Tower, and Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, 2017, Comey received a phone call from President Elect Donald J. Trump. The originating telephone number may have had a New York area code. Following the telephone conversation, Comey drafted and e-mailed a memo to James Rybicki and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
“In the second instance, Comey was on his way to a FBI leadership conference in Leesburg, Virginia (March 9, 2017) when he was diverted to Liberty Crossing to respond to a request from Trump to contact him. Comey contacted Trump from Liberty Crossing on a Top Secret telephone line. The conversation was “all business” and related to [redacted]. Comey is less sure he drafted a memo for his conversation but if he did, he may have sent it on the FBI’s Top Secret network.”
On June 8, 2017, Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he leaked memos of his conversations with President Trump “because (he) thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” Columbia University Law professor Daniel Richman, a friend of Comey’s, reportedly “turned over copies of the former FBI director’s explosive memos … to the FBI, sidestepping a request by congressional committees to deliver the materials to Capitol Hill.”
The Justice Department previously argued to the court in a separate case that Comey’s leak of the memo regarding former national security advisor Michael Flynn was unauthorized and compared it to WikiLeaks.
Comey admitted to Congress regarding the “Flynn” memo, “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter [for The New York Times] … I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” The New York Times published a report about the memo on May 16, 2017. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed the following day.
The Hill noted in a July 9, 2017 report that, “More than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.”
Of its decision not to prosecute Comey, the DOJ did not want to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive,” a source told Solomon.
But, Solomon’s report noted that Horowitz is likely to condemn Comey’s conduct in his final days as FBI director, will conclude he leaked classified information and showed a lack of candor after his own agency began looking into his feud with Trump over the Russia probe.
The revelations from Horowitz’s report and Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuits “are likely to dent Comey’s carefully manicured image as a law-and-order FBI director who was fired for standing up to Trump,” Solomon wrote.
The IG report, Solomon concluded, “at least reaffirms what has become painfully clear to Americans the past two years: Comey entered the FBI chief’s job with a reputation for excellence but ran a bureau that suffered from ineptitude, political shenanigans, leaking and significant human failings, all of which sharply contrast with the morality lectures he’s become famous for frequently offering since he was fired.”