President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that former FBI Director James Comey's leaks to the press were illegal because they included classified information. "James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media," Trump tweeted. "That is so illegal!" While Comey testified at a Congressional hearing in June that he believed the leaked memos were not classified and included information he recalled from his meetings with Trump, The Hill reported on Sunday that those memos did indeed include classified information.
According to The Hill, more than half of the memoranda Comey wrote as personal recollections of his talks with Trump about the Russia investigation contain classified information. This means that Comey may have violated the rules of the agency that he headed at the time, as well as ignoring the very same security protocols that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for during the 2016 presidential election.
Comey’s private memos on Trump conversations contained classified material https://t.co/XCncK9Ijl1 IF true, this is bombshell news— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) July 10, 2017
In June, Comey testified that the memos are personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a friend. He asked that friend to leak information from one memo to the media so as to create pressure to name a special prosecutor in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) asked Comey on June 8, “So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document?” adding, “You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?” Comey answered, “Correct. I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.”
However, the memoranda were later to be deemed government documents. The memoranda are now known to amount to seven, a number not previously reported, according to The Hill. Four of the memos had markings that indicated their contents were classified either confidential or secret. The agreement that FBI agents sign as part of their hiring says, in part:
“Unauthorized disclosure, misuse, or negligent handling of information contained in the files, electronic or paper, of the FBI or which I may acquire as an employee of the FBI could impair national security, place human life in jeopardy, result in the denial of due process, prevent the FBI from effectively discharging its responsibilities, or violate federal law.”
James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017