Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said on Friday the recent testimony given by former FBI Director James Comey may provide enough evidence to show Comey broke federal law when he leaked to the press notes he had taken of conversations he had with President Donald Trump prior to being fired in May.
Sekulow first made the accusation in an opinion article he published with Fox News on Friday.
“Comey – the nation’s top intelligence official – admitted under oath that he leaked privileged documents to a friend to give to reporters at the New York Times,” Sekulow wrote in the article. “Memos that he had written in the course of his official government duties about privileged conversations with the President. The reason: Comey testified that he did so to manipulate the situation and force the appointment of a Special Counsel. (And, as we know – that’s ultimately what occurred.)”
“Comey’s admission that he is a leaker also raises serious legal questions,” Sekulow also wrote later in his article. “In my view, Comey broke the law: 18 U.S.C. § 641 provides that it is a federal crime to, without authority, convey a record of the United States, in this case an FBI record he admits under oath he leaked after being fired.”
On Friday evening, during an interview with Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity, Sekulow leveled the charge again.
“Here’s the real issue,” Sekulow said. “The contents of that memo [Comey sent to the New York Times], the substance of it, anyways, was already reported in the New York Times the day before the president tweeted anything. And then, Sean, he goes under oath and says, ‘I did this to get a special counsel’ — which by the way — is impaneled the next day!”
“Outrageous!” Hannity said.
“No, no,” Sekulow continued. “It’s more than outrageous. It’s a crime.”
On Thursday, Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss his firing, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, and the possibility Trump may have pressured Comey to abandon the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn.
During the questioning, it was revealed by Comey Trump had not at any time been under investigation for committing a crime related to collusion or anything else, but Comey also accused the president of pressuring him, lying and acting inappropriately.
On Friday, Trump said Comey had told some lies and said he’d be willing to testify under oath about the issues in dispute.
“Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction,” Trump said. “That was an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election that some people think they shouldn’t have lost. But we were very, very happy, and, frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren’t true.”