The Justice Department’s inspector general sharply criticized James Comey on Thursday, saying in a report that the former FBI director violated bureau policy in the handling of memos that he wrote after conversations with President Donald Trump.
The report details how Comey handled seven memos he wrote between Jan. 6, 2017, and April 11, 2017, following interactions he had with Trump. The Inspector General’s Office determined that four of those memos contained information classified as “Secret” or “Confidential.”
Comey, who was fired as FBI director on May 9, 2017, provided four of the memos to his personal attorneys after his ouster. He also gave screenshots of one memo to his close personal friend with instructions to provide the information to The New York Times.
Comey testified on June 8, 2017, to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he directed the friend, Daniel Richman, to share the information with the Times in order to trigger a special counsel’s investigation.
The ploy was successful. A day after Richman provided the information to the Times, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. By then, the Justice Department had also opened an investigation into whether Trump tried to obstruct the Russia probe.