Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said President Donald Trump was wrong about James Comey’s memos — which he said provided potentially damning evidence against the president.
Napolitano disagreed Monday morning that the former FBI director’s personal memos were classified, as Trump claims, and were not illegally leaked to a law professor friend who then shared the documents with reporters.
“It’s going to depend upon which four of the seven memos were leaked to the professor, whether anything in there was classified at the time, whether it was properly classified and whether the professor exposed classified materials,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano said Comey’s friend, Daniel Richman, had served in the Department of Justice, although in fact he was a consultant to the Cabinet agency and a former chief appellate attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
“I don’t think the professor did this,” Napolitano said. “This law school professor is a former ranking official of the DOJ who once had a security clearance and knows what it is like to deal with these things.”
He said several questions about the memos needed to be answered before determining whether any laws were broken when Comey shared his notes.
“When Jim Comey handed over the four memos had anything been classified or was it retroactive?” Napolitano said. “Question two, was the classification, if retroactive, a proper classification or was it classified for some other purpose? Question three, was anybody harmed by Jim Comey passing those memos on to the professor? That’s what the government is interested in.”
The former New Jersey Superior Court judge said he does not believe anything Comey shared was classified at the time, but he said the memos present bad news for the president.
“I don’t think there was anything in there that was classified, I really don’t,” Napolitano said. “I think those were his own recollections, maybe self-serving, maybe truthful.”
Napolitano said the memos appeared to confirm troubling accounts by Comey about the president’s behavior, which could be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I think it’s an indictment — lower-case I, not an indictment from a grand jury — it’s an indictment of the president if those are accurate,” Napolitano said. “The memos are what Jim Comey told whatever committee he testified before — I don’t remember which one, it was shortly after he was fired — that the president attempted to interfere in the investigation of Mike Flynn. That doesn’t mean the president did. it means in Jim Comey’s view there is evidence of it. So the memos back up the testimony that he gave.”