Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed Monday during a Senate hearing that the IG is currently investigating former FBI Director James Comey’s mishandling of classified information.
More specifically, the IG is examining memos Comey shared that documented discussions he had with President Trump.
A direct question regarding the prospect of a formal probe into Comey’s actions was asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley. The question prompted Horowitz to reveal that a referral from the FBI was initiated, and that the IG is currently handling the matter, the Daily Caller reported.
Back in April, Comey revealed that the IG’s office had interviewed him regarding the memos, but cited the questions over classified information as “frivolous” at the time, and he suggested the real issue to be whether he complied with internal policies.
“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,” Grassley said during the hearing.
“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,” Grassley asked.
“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,” Horowitz responded.
Back in April, Fox News reported that Horowitz was examining whether classified information was given out to unauthorized sources as part of a larger review of Comey’s communications outside the bureau.
Comey has asserted that sharing the memos with his legal team was not a leak of classified information, but instead compared the process to keeping “a diary.”
“I didn’t consider it part of an FBI file,” Comey said. “It was my personal aide-memoire… I always thought of it as mine.”
Comey claimed that he documented his interactions in a manner that did not require security classification.
However, eight out of the 15 pages of memos Comey surrendered to Congress have redactions under classified exceptions.
The new revelation comes just days after the Justice Department released its internal watchdog report on the department’s handling of the Clinton email probe, in which James Comey was once again a main focus.
The report called Comey’s actions in the investigation “extraordinary and insubordinate,” but ultimately concluded that Comey was not motivated by political bias.