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DOJ on the Comey-Trump Memos
Aug 30, 2019 at 11:35 AM

The Quick Facts

  • The Justice Department’s Inspector General (“IG”) has reprimanded former FBI Director James Comey for his 2017 disclosure of memos alleging that President Trump had demanded his pledge of loyalty, urged he drop the investigation of then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and asked what Comey could do to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation.
  • The IG’s investigatory report concluded that Comey’s disclosure of the memos had violated Justice Department and FBI policies and Comey’s own employment contract, but did not recommend prosecution. The IG emphasized that even when FBI employees “distrust the legitimacy of supervisory, prosecutorial or judicial decisions” about disclosure, they can’t simply take matters into their own hands and act unilaterally. 
  • Despite the IG’s significant findings of violations, Comey declared victory and demanded apologies from his accusers.
  • Notably, the IG did not undermine in any way the memos’ substance, which Special Counsel Robert Mueller had previously adopted in his own report. Nevertheless, Trump proclaimed the IG report fully vindicated him as well.

Food For Thought

Is it ever right to publicly disclose sensitive information despite their opposition? How have high-profile investigations into the FBI and its top brass affected the public’s view of its neutrality in fact-finding and its professionalism?

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