Fact Check: WaPo Falsely Claims Memos Prove James Comey Did Not Leak Classified Information

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Judiciary
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The far-left Washington Post is falsely claiming that the release of the James Comey memos “bolsters” the case that the disgraced former FBI director did not leak classified information. In reality, the exact opposite is true.

WaPo’s Philip Bump, whose documented credibility problems have even caught the attention of the New York Times, is using straight up falsehoods in an attempt to exonerate Comey, while falsely painting President Donald Trump as a liar.

Friday morning, Trump tweeted that Comey had “leaked classified information” by leaking memos about his conversation with the president to the media through an intermediary, Columbia law professor Daniel Richman.

There are seven memos. Per Comey’s own intermediary, Comey leaked four of them to him. And now we know that “More than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.”

So, if 1) there are seven memos and 2) more than half contained classified information and 3) Comey leaked four, 4) the math informs us that Comey leaked classified information.

WaPo’s painful attempt to exonerate Comey actually contradicts itself. Hidden beneath a misleading headline that reads “The Comey memos bolster his claim that he didn’t leak classified information,” and nearly ten paragraphs of the left-wing Bump attacking Trump,  WaPo is actually forced to admit Comey did in fact leak classified information:

In July of last year, Fox News reported that Richman had told them that he had received four memos from Comey. (It appears to be the only outlet to have reported this.) Slate theorizes that this is why Republicans wanted the memos to be released: After all, if four of the seven memos included classified information (as was known before Thursday’s release), then, if he received four documents, Richman must have received at least one document that was classified. The release of the memos, though, make clear that the memo which we know Comey gave to Richman wasn’t classified. Slate asked Richman to clarified [sic] what he had received, without response; they speculate that perhaps Richman received four pages of documents.

The sleight-of-hand here, the audacious dishonesty, is reminiscent of Bump’s attempt to fabricate 355 mass shootings and to wish away the radicalism a credible poll found in a disturbing number of American Muslims.

To begin with, Comey’s intermediary, Richman, told Fox News he received four memos. Period.

Moreover, Richman has never disputed he received four memos, never backtracked, never claimed he misspoke to Fox News, never said that Fox News misquoted him. And the idea that a Columbia law professor does not know the difference between four pages and four memos, is laughably desperate.

Nevertheless, Bump still wants us to believe the left-wing Slate’s speculation (which is based on no reporting, merely wishful thinking) that Richman confused pages with memos is a more important fact than Richman stating on the record that he received four memos and never backing off that claim, despite many opportunities to do so.

Yes, that is what Bump is basing his speculation on — on the hope that what Richman himself said is not true. [UPDATE: Bump’s absurd thesis just got blown away with the Wall Street Journal report that says Comey is now under investigation by the Justice Department for leaking at least two memos that contained classified info.]

What’s more, it makes perfect sense that Richman has remained silent. When he told Fox News he was in possession of four of the seven memos, meaning that at least one of them contained classified information, he might have accidentally dropped Comey into a world of hurt. Were Richman to change his story now, it would put his credibility in serious jeopardy.

Regardless, Richman does not need to change his story when he has the Washington Post doing it for him!

Bump also tries to make the case that even if Comey did leak memos containing classified information, he is still not guilty of leaking classified information because, at the time they were leaked, the memos were not yet marked classified.

Even if true, this is irrelevant …

1) Comey still leaked classified information.

2) To quote Comey himself, “[E]ven if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”

I can’t wait for Bump to spin us all on how an FBI director could not have known his private conversations with the president were classified.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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