New questions tonight over fired FBI Director James Comey's friendship with Columbia law professor Daniel Richman; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports.
The James Comey memos that leaked to the media and were a catalyst for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller were more widely shared than previously known, three sources familiar with the matter tell Fox News.
Sources identified former U.S. Attorney and special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald as the likely recipient, and did not rule out a third individual, in addition to Columbia law professor Daniel Richman, who shared contents with the media. The memos documenting Comey’s private conversations with the president are now the subject of a Justice Department Inspector General review over the presence of classified information.
Patrick Fitzgerald is a longtime friend of Comey’s and now his lawyer, as first reported by Talking Points Memo. Fitzgerald did not respond to emails or a voicemail seeking comment.
Patrick Fitzgerald is James Comey’s longtime friend and now his lawyer, as first reported by Talking Points Memo.
(REUTERS/Frank Polich, File)
Fox News asked Fitzgerald how many memos he received, if Comey, Richman or a third party provided them, whether they were stored securely because of classified contents, and whether the FBI took steps — to include his personal and business electronics — to mitigate the spill of classified information. In the event he did not receive any Comey memos, Fitzgerald was invited to provide an on the record statement to Fox News.
The publisher of Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” did not respond to Fox News’ questions. An FBI spokesperson offered no comment.
During his June 2017 Senate testimony, after President Trump fired him, Comey did not describe Richman as an FBI employee, and seemed to give no public indication the memos were shared more broadly. The former FBI director testified that he gave the memos, documenting conversations with the president, to Richman to kick-start what is now the Mueller probe.
"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," Comey told Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who asked who it was. "A good friend of mine who’s a professor at Columbia Law School."
On Tuesday, Richman confirmed to Fox News he worked for Comey at the FBI as a “special government employee” — known by the shorthand SGE — on an unpaid basis. Sources familiar with Richman’s FBI work said Comey assigned him to "special projects." Richman had a security clearance and badge access to the FBI building. Richman’s employment was formalized through a memorandum of understanding.