by Richard Pollock
The Daily Caller News Foundation is suing the Department of Justice for failing to produce records regarding the Columbia University professor who received four memos from former FBI Director James Comey, one of which was leaked to The New York Times.
Cause of Action Institute, a conservative nonprofit watchdog, filed the lawsuit on behalf of TheDCNF Monday after the Justice Department and the FBI failed to produce any records related to Daniel Richman in response to the news organization’s April 25 Freedom of Information Act request.
Richman is a long-time friend and confidante of Comey and obtained at least four of the former FBI director’s memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump, two of which contained classified information, according to news reports. He leaked at least one Comey memo to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Comey, in a July 5, 2016 press conference, absolved then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of any criminal activity in using her private server for government business while she served as secretary of state, saying that she was “extremely careless,” but not grossly negligent in using a private server for official government business. Gross negligence would constitute a federal offense tied to the mishandling of classified government secrets.
Comey hired Richman as a special government employee, or SGE, to conduct an assortment of personal duties for him, including the task of developing “talking points” about the bureau’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Richman served on “special projects” as an SGE for at least 19 months and “served at the pleasure of” Comey, FBI records show, according to Fox News.
Richman also gave multiple interviews to reporters between July 2015 and February 2017 defending Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case.
TheDCNF seeks all of Mr. Richman’s work product developed on behalf of the former FBI director. It also seeks “all communications between the bureau and Mr. Richman concerning his SGE work assignments, all intra-bureau communications about Mr. Richman and his assignments and activities, as well as all work product delivered to Director Comey or to others within the bureau.”
The suit was filed under FOIA before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The Justice Department released some information about Richman to Congress after both House and Senate members waged a bitter campaign to obtain them, along with Comey’s private memos. Some of the documents were released beginning last April.
But the FBI and the Justice Department have hidden the full range of Richman’s activities on behalf of Comey and his interactions with the former director and other bureau officials.
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Richard Pollock is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Richard on Twitter.