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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 ComeyThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet Barr threatened to resign over Trump attempts to fire Wray: report 'Fox News Sunday' to mark 25 years on air MORE's handling of memos he wrote to memorialize his conversations with President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez 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: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.