Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz acknowledged for the first time publicly Monday that his office is investigating fired FBI Director James Comey ’s private memos and whether any possible classified information in them was properly handled.
“We received a referral on that from the FBI, we are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete,” Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to a question from chairman Chuck Grassley.
Comey documented his interactions with President-elect and then President Trump in a series of documents. Some of the memos were shared with a law professor with the intent that its contents be provided to the New York Times.
Grassley, an Iowa Republican, noted in his opening remarks that Comey had been invited to attend, but was unavailable due to foreign travel, though a tweet indicated he had spent the weekend in Iowa.
Horowitz appeared alongside FBI Director Chris Wray in a hearing about last week’s release of his long-awaited inspector general report about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
President Trump suggested that the report cleared him of wrongdoing. “It totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction,” Trump told reporters during an impromptu press conference Friday.
But Horowitz made it clear his report did no such thing. “We did not look into collusion questions,” Horowitz told the panel.
Following the release of the report, Trump also said that the Mueller probe was “totally discredited.” Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, asked Wray about whether that’s true.
“I do not believe special counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt,” Wray responded.
Democrats on the committee zeroed in on alleged leaks about the Hillary Clinton investigation to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who bragged about getting inside information on Fox News during the 2016 campaign.
Neither the Wray nor Horowitz would confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the matter. Giuliani would go on to become an attorney for President Trump.