DOJ Inspector General referred Comey for prosecution but AG Barr refused to prosecute

Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is the chief watchdog of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Katie Pavlich reports for Townhall that on Thursday morning, August 29, 2019, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released an 83-page long report on fired FBI Director James Comey‘s misconduct — that Comey set a “dangerous precedent” by purposefully leaking to the media confidential FBI memos about conversations with President Trump for personal and political gain, so as to launch the Special Counsel investigation into the 2016 presidential election on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s alleged (but wholly without evidence) collusion with the Russians. During sworn congressional testimony in 2017, Comey himself admitted that he’d purposely leaked the confidential memos to a friend, who then gave them to the New York Times.

The IG’s report specifically addresses a number of claims made by Comey that the memos he leaked were “personal documents.” But the IG concluded the memos, which were written on an official FBI computer while Comey was working in his official capacity as FBI director, belong to the FBI. Even worse, after Comey was fired he held onto the memos, which was against FBI protocol. From the report:

We conclude that the Memos were official FBI records, rather than Comey’s personal documents.  Accordingly, after his removal as FBI Director, Comey violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement by failing to either surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the FBI or seek authorization to retain them; by releasing official FBI information and records to third parties without authorization; and by failing to immediately alert the FBI about his disclosures to his personal attorneys once he became aware in June 2017 that Memo 2 contained six words (four of which were names of foreign countries mentioned by the President) that the FBI had determined were classified at the “CONFIDENTIAL” level.

Comey told the Office of the Inspector General that he considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents, rather than official FBI records.  He said he viewed these Memos as “a personal aide-mémoire,” “  like [his] diary” or   “like [his] notes,” which contained his “recollection[s]” of his conversations with President Trump. Comey further stated that he kept Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 in a personal safe at home because he believed the documents were personal records rather than FBI records. Comey’s characterization of the Memos as personal records finds no support in the law and is wholly incompatible with the plain language of the statutes, regulations, and policies defining Federal records, and the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.  

We conclude that the Memos are official FBI records as defined by statute, regulations, Department and FBI policies, and Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement. Because they are official FBI records, Comey was required to handle the Memos in compliance with all applicable Department and FBI policies and the terms of his Employment Agreement.

The IG report concluded that by retaining and leaking official FBI documents, including confidential documents, James Comey  violated:

  1. The DOJ and policies pertaining to the retention, handling, and dissemination of FBI records and information; and
  2. The requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.

In the words of the Inspector General’s report:

[A]fter his removal as FBI Director two months later, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4, which Comey had kept without authorization, to Richman with instructions to share the contents with a reporter for The New York Times. Memo 4 included information that was related to both the FBI’s ongoing investigation of Flynn and, by Comey’s own account, information that he believed and alleged constituted evidence of an attempt to obstruct the ongoing Flynn investigation; later that same day, The New York Times published an article about Memo 4 entitled, “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation.”

The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties. On occasion, some of these employees may disagree with decisions by prosecutors, judges, or higher ranking FBI and Department officials about the actions to take or not take in criminal and counterintelligence matters. They may even, in some situations, distrust the legitimacy of those supervisory, prosecutorial, or judicial decisions. But even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information.Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. 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. Comey said he was compelled to take these actions “if I love this country…and I love the Department of Justice, and I love the FBI.” However, were current or former FBI employees to follow the former Director’s example and disclose sensitive information in service of their own strongly held personal convictions, the FBI would be unable to dispatch its law enforcement duties properly, as Comey himself noted in his March 20, 2017 congressional testimony. Comey expressed a similar concern to President Trump, according to Memo 4, in discussing leaks of FBI information, telling Trump that the FBI’s ability to conduct its work is compromised “if people run around telling the press what we do.” This is no doubt part of the reason why Comey’s closest advisors used the words “surprised,” “stunned,” “shocked,” and “disappointment” to describe their reactions to learning what Comey had done.

In a country built on the rule of law, it is of utmost importance that all FBI employees adhere to Department and FBI policies, particularly when confronted by what appear to be extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions. Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.

Incredibly, despite the DOJ Inspector General’s findings, Comey will not be prosecuted.

About a month before the release of the Inspector General’s report, The Hill had reported that “Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s team referred Comey for possible prosecution under the classified information protection laws, but Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors working for Attorney General William Barr reportedly have decided to decline prosecution,” ostensibly because the prosecutors “did not believe they had enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law, according to multiple sources.”

A source told The Hill that prosecutors “working for” Barr were particularly concerned with one memo that Comey had leaked to a friend for publication by the media contained information that the FBI subsequently classified at the lowest level of “confidential” only after Comey had transmitted the information. And so the Attorney General’s office decided not to prosecute Comey so as not to “look petty and vindictive,”

After he learned that Attorney General Barr will not prosecute him, James Comey then completely misrepresented and twisted the Inspector General’s report into what it was not.

In a tweet on August 29, 2019, Comey crowed that the DOJ Inspector General 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. Comey accused President Trump of giving the public “bad information”. Then Comey had the chutzpah to demand “a public apology from those who defamed me” or “a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”

Justice really is dead in America.

~Eowyn

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Bill in NCLarry FoldsTrue Danwriterjeffirate nate Recent comment authors
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William
Member
William

Justice is not completely dead but it’s definitely on life support. Especially when the “watchdog” at DOJ is named (((Horowitz))). For some reason that doesn’t fill me with confidence. But he can say, well, I did MY job, where this goes from here is out of my hands. And it’s going nowhere. The only purpose of the FBI is to subvert legitimate nationalist/patriot movements and to dig up dirt on political opponents. None of the big dogs are ever going to be prosecuted, maybe a few low-level munchkins to keep up appearances. IMO we need to disabuse ourselves of the… Read more »

DCG
Admin

It’s all Kabuki theater in DC. All of it.

Freakin maddening…

William
Member
William

Yup, all theater. Everybody and everything is compromised. Imagine that. I know, hard to believe..:)

TrailDust
Admin

We knew the system was compromised, but now we see some of the details. God help us to root out all the swamp creatures.

Leo Smith
Guest
Leo Smith

Dear Mr. AG: Until the Coup Members are charged and convicted, There IS NO JUSTICE in America. Do you understand what I said or do you ne3ed another Law degree on the Constitution.?

kjf
Guest
kjf

There was no coup, nor an attempt. As TD stated abovr, it is all theater, just look up and see (((who))) controls the strings. “We have been successful in dividing society against itself by pitting labor against management, This perhaps has been one of our greatest feats, since in reality it is a triangle, though only two points ever seem to occur. In modern industry… capital, which force we represent, is the apex. Both management and labor are on the base of this triangle. They continually stand opposed to each other and their attention is never directed to the head… Read more »

Marilyn Renee Crawford
Guest

So, lawlessness is OK if you are in the FBI? What else is there???? Is this what our tax dollars are being spent on, and yet the FBI can destroy people’s lives they way they do? Time to clean house in this nation and demand accountability. Otherwise , why waste our money on the investigations? How many millions for Mueller’s farce????

Larry Folds
Guest
Larry Folds

Hannity is always saying 99.7% of the FBI are hardworking honest people trying to do their job. I don’t believe any of it. The FBI are snakes and slime and will frame you or kill you if given the opportunity. If the 99.7% are so honest, why didn’t even one come forward and turn in their colleagues who they had to know were corrupt? Why not? Because the FBI consists or bureaucrats protecting their pensions, not the We the People. The FBI is rotten to the core and they’d be the last people I would ever call for help and… Read more »

kjf
Guest
kjf

Why should anyone be shocked? PDJT will do nothing. No one will. Do ppl really think this is the 1st time information has been leaked at a high level. “Sources close tonthe investigation, sources inside the White House, source close to Senator …” Go after comey for following orders means you need to go after anyone else releasing information. Comey was following orders, and yes that is an actual LEGAL defense, or at least before the (((Bolsheviks))) won the 2nd war.

Charles Patterson
Guest
Charles Patterson

Mr. President this is on you. You promised to drain the swamp but it just keeps getting deeper. You have done great things for our economy and stood-up to bullies around the world, but when it comes to the communist left (Demoncraps) in this country, you have not taken the 1st step. You hired that loser Sessions and now wild Billy (do nothing) Barr. The people understand that without proof that you are willing to enforce justice for all nothing else matters because we are being eaten alive by the commie left. You have signaled a willingness to go along… Read more »

Alma
Member
Alma

Trump is very American and all for the U.S. -let’s not forget after his time in the White House is over, Trump will be the business mogul he’s always been. Hillary Rotten Clinton will go on and so Comey and for us life will go on with more downs than ups. Remember…… POTUS paved his way.

irate nate
Guest
irate nate

Before we storm the White House with torches and pitchforks, how about we wait to see what happens once all the evidence is in? Maybe – just maybe – there’s a reason they aren’t going after Comey for what basically amounts to jaywalking. Perhaps they have something more serious they want to hang on Comey, something besides a slap on the wrist…

Larry Folds
Guest
Larry Folds

I don’t consider that violating security, espionage and intelligence materials jaywalking. Either by Hillary, Weiner and Huma, or Comey minor stuff.

writerjeff
Guest
writerjeff

DJT is blowing it – install a REAL AttyGen, no more deepstaters please. And, BTW, fire the people who are recommending all these leakers, liars, and saboteurs.

Honestly, if you are unwilling to treat them as the DOJ would treat me, why would I ever vote for you again?

danwdurham
Member
danwdurham

Having worked with classified material during my 50-year career with the Department of Defense, I have to agree that taking someone to court over four words that were determined to be classified CONFIDENTIAL after the fact is, at best, likely to end in a “hung” jury. Remember that, while Director of the FBI, James Comey was a designated Classification Authority who was legally able to determine the classification of a document. The most likely outcome of a jury trial would have been Not Guilty. Taking Comey to trial over the classification of that memorandum would have been on a level… Read more »

William
Member
William

You obviously know more about this stuff than I do but it’s hard not to be skeptical, that the major players in this mess are untouchable. On the other hand, what you said about the low probability of Comey being indicted over the 6 classified words sounds right. And Barr and Horowitz must be aware of that as well. So why even put it out there unless it’s a toehold in preparation for something much bigger? Time will tell

Bill in NC
Guest
Bill in NC

You are correct … it is a toehold / a beginning. It is getting people used to the idea that the Trump administration is not vindictive and will not prosecute for petty personal reasons. That will add greatly to the public acceptance if much beefier charges.

Larry Folds
Guest
Larry Folds

I’ve given up on Trump, Barr and the entire Republican party. To me, they are as complicit in all of this as are the democrats. For Trump to spend all of his time tweeting while Rome burns is another indication that he is either the dumbest most gullible man in the administration or he has become part of the problem. He seems to trust scoundrels and then appears surprised when the vipers bite and obfuscate. Lord help us because we’re running out of time. Hell, Trump even trusts North Korea and the Taliban! Makes my head spin. Barr is no… Read more »