- The White House blasted former FBI director James Comey as a “proven liar and leaker” after the Justice Department released a report Thursday saying he violated bureau protocol by leaking a memo of his conversations with President Donald Trump to the media.
- The White House also falsely implied that Comey’s decision to share the memo was the reason the FBI launched the Russia investigation.
- “Comey disgraced himself and his office to further a personal political agenda, and this report further confirms that fact,” the White House’s statement said.
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The White House responded to the Justice Department inspector general’s finding Thursday that former FBI director James Comey violated FBI policies by calling him a “proven liar and leaker.” It also falsely implied that Comey’s decision to share a memo with the media detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump was the reason the FBI launched the Russia investigation.
The IG report said that though Comey broke bureau protocol by sharing the memo with The New York Times, he did not leak classified information and would not be criminally prosecuted.
“James Comey is a proven liar and leaker,” the White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The Inspector General’s report shows Comey violated the most basic obligations of confidentiality that he owed to the United States Government and to the American people, ‘in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.'”
It continued: “Because Comey shamefully leaked information to the press – in blatant violation of FBI policies – the Nation was forced to endure the baseless politically motivated, two-year witch hunt. Comey disgraced himself and his office to further a personal political agenda, and this report further confirms that fact.”
Comey’s decision to share his memo with The New York Times did not prompt the FBI to launch the Russia investigation. In fact, it had already been underway for nearly a year at the time, and it was opened because the former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos boasted during the 2016 election to an Australian diplomat that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the form of “thousands of emails.”
Shortly after his firing, Comey gave four memos about his conversations with Trump to his friend Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor, and directed him to share one of them with The Times. The memos and Comey’s firing were central to the obstruction-of-justice case the former special counsel Robert Mueller opened against Trump after Comey’s ouster.
Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 that he directed Richman to share his memos with the media because he “needed to get that out into the public square.”
The report concluded that Comey violated FBI policy by “failing to surrender” the memos and by facilitating the disclosure of Memo 4 to the media.
But the OIG said it “found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media.”