DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz made a stunning admission during Monday Congressional Testimony that former FBI Director James Comey is under a separate and ongoing investigation over mishandling of classified information – when asked by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about
Grassley: “Comey said he did not expect a report on his handling of classified information because, “That’s frivolous.” I don’t happen to think that it is frivolous. Question number one, Mr. Horowitz, are you investigating the handling of his memo and does that include the classification issues, and should Mr. Comey expect a report when it’s complete?”
Horowitz: “We received a referral on that from the FBI,” We are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete, consistent with the law and rules that are–a report that’s consistent and takes those into account.”
Grassley: “Is the IG investigating Comey’s handling of his memos about Trump?”
Horowitz: “Yes, we’re investigating it and will produce a report on it.”
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) June 18, 2018
Earlier Monday, Grassley demanded in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that the agency provide information regarding revelations from last week’s Inspector General report that former FBI Director James Comey used personal email accounts to conduct official business – which neither the FBI or the Inspector General independently verified during an internal investigations.
On June 14, the Committee received the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report entitled, “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election.” The report found that FBI employees Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and even former Director James Comey used personal e-mail accounts and devices to conduct official government business in violation of FBI policy. The revelation about Mr. Comey’s use of personal email for work was new. Thus, it is important to understand what steps the FBI has taken, if any, to retrieve work-related communications from former Director Comey’s personal email account -Chuck Grassley
Grassley’s letter then states that “there appears to have been no independent verification by the Inspector General or the FBI. Without access to his private account, independent verification is impossible. The Justice Department should apply at least as much scrutiny to its own former Director as it applied to the former Secretary of State.”
As a reminder, the disclosure in last week’s OIG report that Comey was also abusing his personal email account, prompted the following brutal troll from Hillary Clinton, who has repeatedly accused Comey (together with everyone and everything else) of costing her the election.
But my emails. https://t.co/G7TIWDEG0p
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 14, 2018
To that end – Grassley’s letter reads “It is disturbing that FBI employees tasked with investigating Secretary Clinton, including the former Director, appear to have engaged in strikingly similar conduct.”
Grassley notes that “When the OIG asked former Director Comey if he was concerned about his decision to conduct FBI business on his personal laptop or email, he admitted he was unsure whether he acted in accordance with FBI regulations. He stated, “I don’t know. I think so, but I don’t know. I remember talking to Jim [Rybicki] about it at one time, and I had the sense that it was okay.”
The Committee Chairman then brings up “serious questions about Director Comey’s transmission of his memos about conversations with President Trump, some of which contained classified information, to Daniel Richman, Patrick Fitzgerald, and David Kelley.”
Secretary Clinton alienated thousands of federal records when she used a nongovernment server and email for official work. Many of those records were deleted rather than returned to the State Department when the Department requested them. Some of those records contained classified information. Here, it is appears as if the FBI has not even sought the return of those records. -Chuck Grassley
The letter then asks four questions of the DOJ, requesting a response by next Friday, June 29:
- Has the FBI requested that former Director Comey provide any official work-related material from his personal devices and email accounts or access to those accounts? If not, why not? If so, did he cooperate?
- Has the FBI conducted or attempted to conduct searches of non-FBI-issued communications devices or non-FBI email accounts associated with former Director Comey for official work-related material? If not, why not?
- Do you agree with former Director Comey that the question of whether he transmitted classified information on unclassified systems is “frivolous”?
- Has the FBI taken any steps to secure, retrieve, or clean any classified information transmitted by former Director Comey off of any unclassified computer systems? If so, please explain in detail what steps were taken and when. a. If the answer is yes, then please describe how that answer is consistent with the FBI’s claim that there was no “indication” that classified information “ever” transited Director Comey’s personal email.