Former FBI director James Comey leaked at least one memo which contained classified information to his Columbia University law professor friend, according to Sen. Charles Grassley, who reviewed the memos in a classified setting.
Grassley and his staff reviewed seven memos which Comey wrote based on his meeting with President Donald Trump. Of those, four were marked “Secret” or “Confidential,” according to a letter Grassley sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
According to the letter, Comey provided Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School four of the seven memos and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press.”
“If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos, then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information,” Grassley wrote. “Professor Richman later read a portion of one of the memos to a New York Times reporter.”
Grassley’s Committee on the Judiciary contacted Richman seeking to obtain copies of the memos, but Richman refused. He also refused to confirm how many memos he receives or whether he has retained any copies.
Richman told Fox News that he turned over all of the memos to the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Grassley’s committee is now asking Rosenstein and the Department of Justice to clear up a long list of unanswered questions about the memos, including who marked them as “Secret” or “Confidential,” when the markings were added, which memos were given to Richman, and whether appropriate investigations were conducted to see if Comey violated applicable laws or department policies.
President Donald Trump was outraged to learn about Comey’s leaks to the media.
James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
Disclosure of classified information is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in July 2017 that he viewed the memos as “personal documents,” according to the Washington Examiner.
“I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president,” Comey told the committee, according to the Examiner. “As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.”
Comey said that he instructed his friend to leak one of the memos to the press in order to trigger the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Trump fired Comey in May 2017 and Rosenstein appointed Mueller to investigate alleged collusion.
Grassley demanded answers from Rosenstein no later than Jan. 17.
2017 Year in Review