James Comey violated FBI policy when dealing with memos documenting private conversations with President Donald Trump in the weeks leading up to his firing as office director, the Justice Department’s inspector general said on Thursday.
Comey broke FBI rules by providing a memo that contained unclassified information to a friend with instructions for sharing contents with a reporter, the watchdog office said. Comey also did not notify the FBI after he was dismissed that he kept memos safe in a home.
“We conclude that Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement,” reads DOJ watchdog head Michael Horowitz’s report.
Comey wrote a series of reports on conversations with Trump, saying that he was unnerved. Comey said that he wished to record interactions because Trump was concerned about them, and that he was interested in making the contents of one of the notes public, in an effort to trigger the appointment of a special counsel to lead the FBI investigation into ties between Russia and the United States.
The department has already decided not to prosecute Comey over the matter.
Comey’s lawyers didn’t immediately return comments. However, Comey himself noted on Twitter that the inspector general had not found evidence of any classification of news media ever shared with Comey or his lawyers.
“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,” he wrote.
He also added: “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me “going to jail” or being a “liar and a leaker” ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, issued a statement slamming Comey’s actions as laid out in the inspector general’s report.
“Today’s report is a disappointing reminder that the former FBI Director put partisanship and personal ambition over patriotism and his legal obligations to the American people. By leaking his confidential communications with the President in an attempt to save face in the wake of his firing, Mr. Comey believed he was above the rules of the DOJ,” Jordan said. “His actions were disgraceful and part of a wider effort within the Obama Justice Department to undermine President Trump. I am grateful that the Inspector General brought these issues to light and look forward to his and Mr. Durham’s findings related to abuses of the FISA process.”
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) August 29, 2019
Includes reporting from the Associated Press