The Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James B. Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain memoranda memorializing seven one-on-one interactions that he had with President-elect and President Donald J. Trump between January 6, 2017, and April 11, 2017.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated this investigation, following a referral from the FBI, after the FBI determined that Comey may have shared memos that contained classified information with individuals outside the FBI. At the time, the OIG was aware of Comey’s congressional testimony that, after his removal as FBI Director on May 9, 2017, he had authorized a friend to provide the contents of one of the memos—which did not contain classified information—to a reporter for The New York Times.
As described in today’s report, the OIG concluded that the memos were official FBI records. The OIG determined that Comey violated applicable policies and his FBI Employment Agreement by providing one of the unclassified memos that contained official FBI information, including sensitive investigative information, to his friend with instructions for the friend to share the contents of the memo with a reporter. Additionally, the OIG determined that Comey, while FBI Director, kept copies of four of the seven memos in a personal safe at his home and, after his removal as FBI Director, violated FBI policies and his FBI Employment Agreement by failing to notify the FBI that he had retained them, or to seek authorization to retain them. Comey likewise violated applicable policies and his FBI Employment Agreement by providing copies, following his removal as FBI Director, of the four memos he had kept in his home to his three private attorneys without FBI authorization. Comey also failed to fulfill his obligation to immediately alert the FBI about his disclosures to his private attorneys once he became aware that the FBI, after Comey’s removal, had determined that one of the memos included several words, the names of foreign countries being discussed by the President, that were classified at the CONFIDENTIAL level.
Upon completing its investigation, the OIG provided its factual findings to the Justice Department for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct, as required by the Inspector General Act. After reviewing the matter, the DOJ declined prosecution.
The OIG provided today’s report to the FBI and to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility for action they deem appropriate.