Trump: Comey 'thoroughly disgraced' after DOJ watchdog report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE on Thursday said former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US This week: Senate reconvenes as protests roil nation amid pandemic Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE “should be ashamed of himself” after a Justice Department watchdog report faulted Comey for his handling of official memos about his interactions with Trump. 

“Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just released Inspector General’s Report. He should be ashamed of himself!” Trump tweeted.

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The Justice Department inspector general report released earlier Thursday said Comey violated FBI policies and his employment agreement with his handling of memos he wrote detailing his interactions with Trump before being fired as FBI director.

The watchdog passed its findings to the Justice Department without making a recommendation on whether Comey should be prosecuted, but Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrIt wasn't just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US Trump says he will designate antifa a terrorist organization MORE declined to bring charges against Comey.

Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 as the bureau investigated Russian interference in the presidential election triggered questions about whether the president was trying to obstruct justice. Comey has said he provided one of his memos to a friend with the hope of triggering the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling and any connection between Moscow’s effort and the Trump campaign.

His hope was realized weeks later when the Justice Department appointed Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE as special counsel.

The White House doubled down on Trump’s criticism of Comey on Thursday, saying Comey’s actions triggered a “politically motivated, two-year witch hunt,” referring to Mueller’s investigation.

“The Inspector General’s report shows Comey violated the most basic obligations of confidentiality that he owed to the United States Government and to the American people, ‘in order to achieve a personally desired outcome,’” White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamPence names new press secretary McEnany: Prayer 'made a lot of difference' in 2016 election McEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation MORE said in a statement, quoting from the inspector general report.  

The inspector general faulted Comey for passing the memo, which was unclassified but determined to contain sensitive material about ongoing investigations, to his friend, Columbia University professor Daniel Richman, with the instructions to share its contents with a journalist.

The memo detailed a conversation between Comey and Trump during which the former FBI director says the president asked him to let go of the investigation into Michael Flynn, his onetime national security adviser. It was reported on by The New York Times in May 2017, after Comey's ouster. 

The report notes that investigators did not find evidence that Comey leaked classified information from the memos to the press.

The inspector general also found that Comey passed four of the memos to his private lawyers in violation of bureau rules, and faulted him for not immediately alerting the bureau about the disclosure when he learned that it had determined one of the memos included classified material.

Comey has argued that the memos were personal recollections and not official records, something the inspector general refuted in the newly released report.

Comey was unapologetic on Twitter, noting that the investigation found no evidence that he or his attorneys shared classified information with the news media and accusing his critics of “defaming” him.

“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” Comey tweeted.

“And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’—ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president,” he wrote.

Comey and Trump have engaged in an extended war of words since the FBI chief’s ouster. In June 2017, Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his interactions with the president and revealed that Trump had asked him to let go of the Flynn investigation.

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn't do it myself, for a variety of reasons. But I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. And so I asked a friend of mine to do it,” Comey told the committee.

Trump has refuted Comey’s account and called him a liar, an assertion the White House repeated on Thursday. The president and his allies have attacked Comey and other top Justice Department officials over the Russia investigation, accusing agents of being motivated by bias against Trump in their decisions with respect to the probe.

Mueller concluded his two-year investigation earlier this year, without finding evidence to charge associates of Trump’s presidential campaign with conspiring with Russia. Mueller did not make a decision one way or another as to whether Trump obstructed the investigation.