The Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz is preparing a report recommending a criminal referral for FBI Director James Comey, concluding that he leaked classified memos and showed a lack of candor with investigators, according to a new report from The Hill.
Attorney General William Barr and DOJ prosecutors have reportedly found the IG report compelling but declined to follow through with charges because of a lack certainty surrounding Comey’s intent to break the law.
Investigative journalist John Solomon reported that the DOJ did not want to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive.”
The report shows that Comey transmitted classified information via an insecure email account and gave memos, some of which were classified up to the “secret” level, to his private lawyers.
One memo in question includes classified information Comey leaked to a friend, with the intention that it would be leaked to the media. Indeed, the New York Times reported information from the “confidential” memo, which said President Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.
On Wednesday, the transparency group Judicial Watch published FBI records obtained via Freedom of Information Act request that showed special agents arrived at Comey’s house in June 2017 to retrieve his memos “as evidence.” The notes show Comey handed over four of them to the FBI agents, and he said two of them, which he wrote after having conversations with Trump, might be “missing.”
The IG report is expected to conclude that Comey acted with a lack of candor with FBI special agents when under investigation. Notably, for failing to tell them that he had forwarded memos to friends and private lawyers.
Barr and the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, John Durham, have opened an investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, which will likely include evaluations of Comey’s conduct as FBI director.