Watchdog: Comey violated FBI policies in handling of memos

WASHINGTON (AP) — James Comey violated FBI policies in his handling of memos documenting private conversations with President Donald Trump in the weeks before Comey was fired as bureau director, the Justice Department's inspector general said Thursday.

The watchdog's office said Comey broke FBI rules by giving one memo containing unclassified information to a friend with instructions to share the contents with a reporter. Comey also failed to notify the FBI after he was dismissed that he had retained some memos in a safe at home.

Comey wrote a series of memos about conversations with Trump that he said unnerved him. Comey has said he wanted to make a record of the interactions because he was concerned Trump might later lie about them, and that he wanted to make the contents of one of the memos public in hopes of triggering the appointment of a special counsel to lead the FBI's investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Related: Inside the White House on the day Trump fired James Comey

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Inside the White House on the day Trump fired James Comey
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Inside the White House on the day Trump fired James Comey
White House Deputy Press Secretary Lyndsey Walters hands out documents to reporters in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, advising them that there will be no further on camera statements, after US President Donald Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. President Donald Trump firing Director of the FBI James Comey at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Writers work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Writers work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to U.S. President Donald Trump recomending the firing of Director of the FBI James Comey, at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Reporters work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Reporters work on the story about Director of the FBI James Comey's firing by U.S. President Donald Trump in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters hands out a statement relating to the firing of the Director of the FBI James Comey by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters (R) hands out a statement relating to the firing of the Director of the FBI James Comey by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters (R) hands out a statement relating to the firing of the Director of the FBI James Comey by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A journalist looks at a copy of the termination letter to FBI Director James Comey from US President Donald Trump in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A journalist looks at a copy of a letter from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to US President Donald Trump recommending the termination of FBI Director James Comey in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
White House Deputy Press Secretary Lyndsey Walters speaks to reporters in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, advising them that there will be no further on camera statements, after US President Donald Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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The department has already decided not to prosecute Comey over the matter.

Lawyers for Comey did not immediately return messages seeking comment. But Comey himself noted on Twitter that the inspector general found no evidence that Comey or his lawyers had ever shared any classified information with the news media.

"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," he wrote.

He also added: "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."

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Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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