Muted chatter around Washington the last few months centers around the question of whether former FBI Director James Comey and his lieutenant Andrew McCabe may face charges regarding alleged false statements by the latter and leaks of classified information by the former.
Jonathan Turley thinks not. But he makes the case in an article at The Hill that he both McCabe and Comey likely violated laws.
In the case of McCabe, he reportedly denied any intention to mislead investigators on the leak to the Wall Street Journal. McCabe would not be alone in the Justice Department’s own allowance for an in-house ‘exculpatory no.’ As I have previously written, Comey was in violation of FBI rules when he removed memos linked to the investigation and then leaked the information to the media through a friend. The Justice Department has indicated that these memos were FBI documents removed by Comey without prior approval.
Moreover, four of the seven memos that Comey removed are now believed to be classified. Since he reportedly gave four memos to his friend, Columbia University Professor Daniel Richman, to leak to the media, at least one disclosed memo may have been classified. It is a crime to remove or release classified information. While Comey could have legally given the information to a congressional committee or alerted them to the existence of the memos, he chose to remove the material and leak the information to the media.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz examines the conduct of Comey, McCabe, and others in their handling of the Hillary Clinton secret server-destroyed emails case. He holds the power to refer to investigators instances of criminal wrongdoing. He may not do this, and if he does, the Justice Department may not pursue former FBI leaders, and if they do, a grand jury may not indict, and if they do, a jury may not find Comey or McCabe guilty. So, we get ahead of ourselves when we imagine Comey and McCabe’s fate as akin to a former famous FBI agent involved in election-year shenanigans, G. Gordon Liddy.
Liddy did the time because he did the crime. Turley appears to believe that Comey and McCabe did the crime but avoid doing the time.