A defiant former FBI Director James Comey insisted he is not a "liar and a leaker" after the Department of Justice Inspector General chided him for his memos detailing conversations with President Trump. Comey said an apology from his critics “would be nice.”
“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,” Comey tweeted, adding, “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.”
Trump has long accused Comey of being a "leaker" after The New York Times published information from his memos that claimed the president asked him for "loyalty" and expressed a desire for the FBI not to investigate Michael Flynn.
The IG report, released Thursday morning, said Comey violated bureau policies by drafting, disseminating and retaining memos documenting discussions with Trump. But it also noted investigators “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.” In his tweets, Comey argued this vindicates him.
While the report did clear Comey of leaking classified information to the media, it was far from a full vindication from wrongdoing. The report details how Comey improperly retained copies of memos which they considered to be FBI documents. It also says that while the memo Comey leaked to Columbia Professor Daniel Richman to be passed along to the media did not have classified information, it still contained sensitive information pertaining to the Flynn investigation.
Additionally, the report noted that Comey did reveal information in one of his memos to his attorneys, and did not notify the FBI after he learned that the information was deemed classified.
The Justice Department, the report said, ultimately decided not to prosecute.
The report also points out that Comey kept his memos and disclosed information in order to have a Special Counsel appointed in the investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russian election interference. The report’s conclusion warns of the dangers of Comey’s actions.
“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information,” the report says.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, responded to the report by calling Comey’s actions “disgraceful,” and showed that he “believed he was above the rules of the DOJ.”