By Adam Goldman
The Justice Department inspector general released a report Thursday that was highly critical of former FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of memos detailing his interactions with the president, accusing him of setting “a dangerous example” for officials with access to government secrets.
The findings were the result of a lengthy investigation by Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector general, who examined whether Comey had acted inappropriately when he gave one of the memos to a confidant who later provided its contents to The New York Times. Comey has said he helped make the information public in part to bring about the appointment of a special counsel.
“Comey violated FBI policy and the requirements of his FBI employment agreement when he chose this path,” the report said.
President Donald Trump and his allies are sure to use the report’s conclusions to attack Comey, whom the president fired abruptly in 2017 and partly blames for opening the Russia investigation, which threatened his presidency from its inception.
In a tweet, Trump said Comey “should be ashamed of himself”. “Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey,” he said.
Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just released Inspector General’s Report. He should be ashamed of himself!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2019
The report is the latest chapter in the story of Comey, who was castigated last year as part of a broader inspector general’s investigation that examined his handling of the Hillary Clinton email inquiry. In trying to protect the FBI, the earlier report said, Comey instead damaged its reputation. He was insubordinate by keeping hidden from Justice Department leaders his plans to hold a news conference on the Clinton investigation and violated department policy by publicly discussing the inquiry, the inspector general found.
Comey responded by noting that the report found he had violated no laws and criticized those who had accused him of lying or leaking information.
Comey has said he would not do anything differently if faced with the same set of choices. Rod J. Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, has said that Comey’s intransigence was partly why he backed firing Comey.
Comey’s memos, first revealed in Times articles in the days after his dismissal two years ago, angered the president with their accounts of his demands of loyalty from typically independent law enforcement officials.
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