The Wall Street Journal is reporting that two of the memos James Comey leaked to a friend contained classified information, and Comey knew it.
The revelation of classified info could bring jail time for Comey, even if he didn’t knowingly reveal it. While Comey personally redacted classified information in one memo he gave to a Columbia law professor, another memo with information labeled “confidential” by the Justice Department was not redacted.
Comey said he purposely leaked the information because he knew it would trigger the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the President.
The revelation comes as Comey’s memos have been released online for the public to view. They can be read by clicking here.
The President has tweeted about the release of the Comey memos, saying it proves he did nothing wrong and there was no collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. He also says it proves there was no obstruction of justice on his part.
James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, according to people familiar with the matter, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.
Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.
The Justice Department inspector general is now conducting an investigation into classification issues related to the Comey memos, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Comey has said he considered the memos personal rather than government documents.
Mr. Comey gave four total memos to his friend Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Columbia Law School, people familiar with the matter said. Three were considered unclassified at the time and one was classified.
Comey knew the implications to the country should he leak the memos to Richman, but admits did so because he wanted an investigation into Trump. Richman has not commented on the release of the memos.
“My judgment was, I need to get that out into the public square,” Mr. Comey told Congress last year. “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons. I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
Mr. Comey’s memos were written contemporaneously to create a record of his interactions with President Donald Trump. He told Congress last year he hadn’t kept written records of his interactions with previous presidents but decided to do so with Mr. Trump because of the “nature of the person.”
Those memos formed the basis for Mr. Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, in which he accused the president of trying to shut down an investigation into purported Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document. That combination of things I had never experienced before, but had led me to believe I got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way,” Mr. Comey told the committee.
The memos were given to Congress this week. They were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Much of the material in the memos has been previously disclosed.