(National Sentinel)Â House of Cards:Â The Republican chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees are demanding that the Justice Department turn over all documents pertaining to the law professor friend of James Comey who last year leaked the fired FBI directorâ€™s memos to the media â€” memos since determined to contain classified information.
AsÂ reported byÂ Fox News, House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., have made their request to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
â€œThe committees are aware James Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), shared or instructed staff to share at least some portion of the memos he drafted memorializing his conversations with President Donald J. Trump (the Comey Memos) to an individual named Daniel Richman,â€ the letter said.
Last week reports revealed that Richman, who is employed byÂ Columbia University, had previously worked as a â€œspecial government employeeâ€ (SGE) for Comey on an unpaid basis while Comey was still leading the FBI. Now, both chairmen say they need additional information that likely includes details about the arrangement and what, precisely, Richman did for Comey.
â€œTo assist the committees in their oversight of this matter, please provide a copy of any nondisclosure agreement(s) signed by Richman with FBI, DOJ or any other entity of the federal government,â€ Gowdy and Goodlatte said.
AsÂ Fox NewsÂ further reported:
Richman emerged last year as the former FBI directorâ€™s contact for leaking memos documenting his private discussions with Trump â€“ memos that are now the subject of an inspector general review over the presence of classified material.Â
Sources familiar withÂ Richmanâ€™sÂ statusÂ at the FBI told FoxÂ NewsÂ thatÂ heÂ was assigned to â€œspecial projectsâ€ by Comey,Â andÂ had a security clearanceÂ as well asÂ badge access to the building.Â Richmanâ€™s status was the subject of a memorandum of understanding.
Itâ€™s believed that Richman may have had access to classified information on FBI databases as well.
Richman was reported to have had the authorization to view encrypted communications by terrorist suspects. But sources toldÂ Fox NewsÂ that he was also given talking points about how the FBI handled the investigation â€” such as it was â€” into Hillary Clintonâ€™s criminal misuse of classified information via her unsecured home-brew email server.
The talking points attempted to â€œcompare and contrast Clintonâ€™s useâ€ of her private server exclusively for government business with the case of retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, who shared classified data with biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell, as well as an espionage case previously brought against former Clinton administration official Sandy Berger.Â
Berger, President Bill Clintonâ€™s national security advisor, was fined $50,000 and sentenced to 100 hours of community serviceÂ for removing highly classified documents from the National ArchivesÂ and intentionally destroying some of them. He also got two yearsâ€™ worth of probation. It wasnâ€™t clear what information the destroyed documents contained.
Fox NewsÂ reported that the Office of Government Ethics defines a special government employee as â€œan officer or employee who is retained, designated, appointed or employed to perform temporary duties, with or without compensation, for not more than 130 days during any period of 365 consecutive days.â€
Whatâ€™s also not clear is whether Comey told anyone he had retained Richman as an SGE and for what purposes, but it doesnâ€™t appear as though congressional committees constitutionally charged with overseeing elements of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence services were aware of the arrangement.
Comey, who is currently on a book tour, has been heavily critical of President Donald J. Trump in recent months. But if some reporting is accurate, Trump will have the last laugh: Comey isÂ believed to have committed criminal espionageÂ for releasing memos detailed conversations with the president, which are automatically classified.
A version of this story first appeared at NewsTarget.