Justice Dept. IG: We're Investigating Comey's Handling of Classified Information in Memos

June 18, 2018

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Monday that his office is investigating former FBI Director James Comey's handling of classified information in his memos about his meetings with President Donald Trump.

Last week, Horowitz released his report on the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, and he defended the scathing review before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) asked Horowitz during the hearing whether the Inspector General's Office would look into Comey's handling of his memos.

"Former Director Comey said on television that the inspector general interviewed him about the handling of his memos of conversations with President Trump. Some of those memos contained classified information," Grassley said. "Are you investigating Comey's handling of his memos? And does that include the classification issues? And should Mr. Comey expect a report when it is complete?"

"We received a referral on that from the FBI," Horowitz said. "We will issue a report when the matter is complete and consistent with the law and rules—and a report that is consistent and takes those into account."

Horowitz investigated the conduct and decisions of the nation's top law enforcement officials before the 2016 presidential election. The investigation included Horowitz reviewing Comey's July 2016 news conference in which he announced that Clinton was "extremely careless" in handling classified information but had not committed legal wrongdoing worthy of a prosecutor pursuing charges. The inspector general also reviewed Comey's decision to inform Congress days before the election that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton's emails.

After being fired by the president last May, Comey released memos to his close friend who subsequently leaked them to the New York Times. The memos contain Comey's documentation of his interactions with Trump, of which he wanted a record in case Trump lied about them. Several of the memos were reported to contain classified information regarding the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Comey said during a congressional hearing last June that he leaked the memo in order to "prompt the appointment of a special counsel."