White House lays out case that Comey broke the law

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday made the case for why former FBI Director James Comey broke the law, expanding on comments from the day before about how federal prosecutors should consider bringing a case.

Comey testified earlier this year that he arranged for a close friend to leak the contents of personal memos detailing his encounters with President Trump. The purpose of the leak to the media, he said, was to ensure a special counsel would be appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

A reporter on Tuesday challenged Sanders on why Comey’s leaks would be illegal if there was no classified information in his memos. Sanders was prepared for the question and read her response from a statement at the lectern:

“The memos that Comey leaked were created on an FBI computer while he was the director,” Sanders responded. “He claims they were private property, but they clearly followed the protocol of an official FBI document. 

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"Leaking FBI memos on a sensitive case regardless of classification violates federal laws including the Privacy Act, standard FBI employment agreements, and nondisclosure agreements all personnel must sign. I think that is clean and clear that that would be a violation.” 

Sanders said Monday that it is up to the Justice Department to prosecute Comey but added that it is something that "should be looked at."

The White House says it is not advising its Justice Department to investigate the matter, even though Sanders’s public remarks could pressure Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCurtis wins Chaffetz's former Utah House seat Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny FBI can’t unlock Texas shooter’s phone MORE to do so. 

“The Department of Justice has to look into any allegations of legality, whether or not something is illegal or not — that's not up to me to decide,” Sanders said.

“What I've said and what I'm talking about are facts. James Comey's leaking of information, questionable statements under oath, politicizing investigations, those are real reasons for why he was fired and the president's decision was 100 percent right, which we've said multiple times over and over. In fact, I think the more and more we learn, the more and more that's been vindicated.”