Watchdog: Ex-FBI head Comey broke policy, rules with Trump memos

President Donald Trump meets with FBI Director James Comey at a White House reception on January 22, 2017. Memos Comey wrote on the substance of his meetings with Trump were criticized by an inspector general's report Thursday. File Photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI

Aug. 29 (UPI) — The inspector general of the U.S. Justice Department issued a report Thursday that said former FBI Director James Comey violated bureau policy with the way he handled memos that detailed meetings two years ago with President Donald Trump.

Comey detailed multiple meetings on paper immediately after the discussions with Trump in early 2017, before he was fired. He later made the memos — which were highly critical of Trump — public after he was dismissed from the bureau.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in Thursday’s 83-page report Comey’s actions set “a dangerous example.”

“We concluded that the memos are official FBI records as defined by statute, regulations, department and FBI policies and Comey’s FBI employment agreement,” the report states.

“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment and by doing it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for more 35,000 current FBI employees — and many thousand more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

Comey eventually acknowledged he allowed a friend to disclose details of the meetings to the press, the report said, and broke official rules by keeping the memos at home and discussing them with his attorneys.

Comey responded Thursday, noting the report doesn’t say he disclosed any classified information, as some had alleged.

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“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 tweeted.

“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.”

A statement from President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, called Comey a “proven liar and leaker.”

“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,’ a statement said.

“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 was criticized in an investigation a year ago for his handling of an email investigation involving 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Horowitz said Comey was insubordinate and hid plans to publicly discuss details of the Clinton investigation.

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