“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 Thursday.
The Department of Justice will not prosecute former FBI director James Comey for his handling of memos detailing his interactions with President Donald Trump that were leaked to the news media.
In a report released Thursday, the Office of the Inspector General said its probe found that Comey had violated DOJ and FBI policies, as well as the FBI’s employment agreement, by asking a friend to leak his memos to a reporter after Trump fired him in May 2017. The Justice Department, upon reviewing the report, declined to bring charges, the OIG said.
The memos detailed conversations Trump and Comey had regarding the FBI’s probe of Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The publication of those memos ultimately led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“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,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in his report.
“Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility,” the report went on to say. “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.”
However, the report said, the 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 responded to the report’s findings on Thursday, tweeting: “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.”
“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,” Comey added.
In June 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he chose to share his memos publicly after Trump tweeted that May that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
Those memos stated that Trump suggested Comey end a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who would later be charged with lying to the FBI.
“I was worried it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach if it was I who gave it to the media, so I asked my friend to,” Comey said of distributing the documents. Comey said during his June 2017 testimony he believed the publication of the memos “might prompt the appointment of a special counsel” to lead the Russia investigation.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly attacked the former FBI director for his actions, lambasting him on social media and to the press. Mueller concluded his investigation into Russian election interference and the president earlier this year, releasing a report that did not accuse Trump of having committed crimes but also “did not exonerate him” from allegations of obstruction of justice.
Asked earlier this month at the White House about the Justice Department not pursuing charges against Comey, Trump said “what James Comey did was illegal.”
In a statement following the release of Thursday’s report, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and a Trump ally who has lead the charge against Comey and other investigatory figures, said the filing “is a disappointing reminder that the former FBI Director put partisanship and personal ambition over patriotism and his legal obligations to the American people.”