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DOJ watchdog probing Comey's memos, will release another report

DOJ watchdog probing Comey's memos, will release another report
© Greg Nash

The Department of Justice's (DOJ) inspector general (IG) is investigating former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden to keep Wray as FBI director Comey: 'Republican Party has to be burned to the ground' Juan Williams: The real 'Deep State' is pro-Trump MORE's handling of memos he wrote to memorialize his conversations with President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz revealed the probe during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday afternoon. He said Comey's memos are being investigated after the watchdog received a referral from the FBI and that the IG would release a report on its findings.

“We received a referral on that from the FBI. We are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete, consistent with the law and rules," Horowitz told Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Treasury announces efforts to help people get stimulus payments | Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury | Judge sets ground rules for release of Trump taxes Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury Finance Committee vote on Yellen nomination scheduled for Friday MORE (R-Iowa), who also asked whether he was examining issues about the records containing classified information. 

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The Wall Street Journal reported reported earlier this year that Horowitz's office was reviewing Comey's decision to provide his friend, Columbia law professor Daniel Richman, with memos that government officials now view as containing classified information. 

Comey has said he gave Richman a “single unclassified memo” with the intention that its contents be shared with the news media in an effort to prompt the appointment of a special counsel — something that came to pass when the Justice Department appointed Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE to that job following Comey's firing in May 2017.

During his congressional testimony last year, Comey said he wrote memos memorializing his conversations with Trump after he took office because he felt the president inappropriately asked him to pledge his loyalty to him while he was spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

He also said Trump asked him to drop his investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired after reports revealed that he had lied to investigators about his contacts with a Russian diplomat. Trump denies making such a request.

The ousted FBI chief said his exchanges with Trump made him uncomfortable, prompting him to jot down what he has described as his personal recollections of what transpired during their interactions.

Comey has also maintained that he did not disclose classified information when he shared some of the contents of the memos with Richman.

Horowitz's appearance on Capitol Hill comes just days after he released a scathing report that hammers the top brass at the FBI and DOJ for their conduct during the 2016 election.

The inspector general faulted Comey for poor judgment during presidential race, but found no evidence to show his key decisions in the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails were improperly influenced by political bias.