Fox prime-time host Sean Hannity and his guests spent years claiming that former FBI Director James Comey had leaked classified information that made its way to the press, but a new report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General found no evidence of Comey leaking classified information.
The IG investigation revolved around Comey’s handling of his own memos recounting conversations he had with President Donald Trump. Comey had given one of those memos to a friend who then gave its contents to The New York Times for a story. The investigation “found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”
A search of Nexis transcripts found at least 16 instances since 2017 in which Hannity or one of his guests had falsely claimed that Comey had leaked classified information. In fact, as Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple pointed out, Hannity drew on a story by The Hill’s John Solomon just last month and claimed that the inspector general was “preparing a damning report on Comey’s conduct in his final days as the FBI director that will likely conclude that he leaked classified information.”
Hannity: “We know today that he lifted sensitive and in some cases classified government memos … and leaked these sensitive documents and the contents of them.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): And as it turns out, America's self-proclaimed super patriot is nothing more than a dirty, corrupt former bureaucrat that will be in serious significant legal jeopardy as this all unfolds. After he was fired, we know today that he lifted sensitive and in some cases classified government memos about conversations that he had with the president of the United States. And then Comey stored these documents at his home and leaked these sensitive documents and the contents of them. One of the memos to the press using a close friend, now a lawyer, as a conduit -- that went to “The New York Times”. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/29/19, via Nexis]
Hannity: “Super patriot Jim Comey stole classified materials from the government and leaked that information to the press.”
Hannity: “Mr. Super Patriot Comey never should have had those documents at his house. And, oh, yes, leaking classified material is a crime.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): As it turns out, in June of 2017, one month after Comey was fired, well, the FBI, people that he used to be the boss of agents, showed up at his door. Why didn't we find this out sooner? They were there to retrieve his classified government memos that he was storing in his home which is illegal. The agents also grilled Comey about documents during an interview. By the way, that would be called an interrogation for the rest of the world.
And keep in mind, it's the very same memos about his confidential communications with the president of the United States. Comey leaked those to the media through a professor friend of his at Columbia, it -- for the purpose of spurring a special counsel investigation.
Now, Mr. Super Patriot Comey never should have had those documents at his house. And, oh, yes, leaking classified material is a crime. Now, I don't think this is his biggest crime in my humble opinion. I've told Super Patriot Jim Comey times before, I'll say it again tonight -- Jim, you have the right to remain silent. My advice now more than ever, you need to shut up. Take my advice.
All right, tonight's major news. We've got two stories we were following. Well, it is part of what we've been waiting for, John Solomon, Investigative Reporter; Vice President of the Hill reported that the Inspector General Michael Horowitz has in fact referred James Comey for possible prosecution over two issues. Leaking classified information and lying of being less than gang candid or lack of candor.
Let me read this again. John Solomon reporting tonight, the DOJ's watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is preparing a damning report on Jim Comey's conduct in his final days as FBI Director though will likely conclude that he leaked classified information which violates the Espionage Act. It shows a lack of candor. That means he lied. As if now the Attorney General is declining to prosecute apparently there are other big issues in play, according to numerous sources that I have, John has and others have. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/31/19, via Nexis]
Sebastian Gorka: “We know that James Comey, after his classified meeting … writes up a memo that is by nature classified” and gave it to “his law professor friend to leak to the media.”
Hannity linked Comey being “under investigation for mishandling classified information” to claims he intentionally leaked his personal notes about conversations he had with the president.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): And tonight, we are also learning James Comey is under investigation for mishandling classified information. Remember, he intentionally leaked his personal notes about conversations he had with the president. That's illegal. You're not allowed to do that, in order to set the ball rolling for the anti-Trump special counsel, his buddy, Robert Mueller, to begin his investigation or witch hunt. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/18/18, via Nexis]
Gregg Jarrett: “A dozen potential crimes by Comey” include “stealing government documents” and “leaking classified documents.”
Ron DeSantis: “Comey can maliciously leak potentially classified information and we just act like nothing ever happened? That's wrong.”
Hannity: “Another damning sign that Comey unlawfully leaked classified information comes from the actual memos.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Now, of course, another damning sign that Comey unlawfully leaked classified information comes from the actual memos. For example, note how the Justice Department released only the redacted version to Congress, blackening out the dozens of section and words here. Now why redact information if it's not classified? And perhaps the most obvious sign that Comey leaked secret classified information comes from his own words and I'm quoting directly here “I am not sure of the proper classification here so I have chosen secret.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/20/18, via Nexis]
Ed Henry: “We believe there is classified information in what Comey put together and then leaked out through a professor friend to The New York Times and elsewhere.”
Hannity: “Comey had a friend leaked potentially classified information to the media.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Members of the media, they have put their blinders on and are purposefully ignoring a massive scandal, which would be the biggest story in their lifetimes. And if they care so much about conflicts of interest, like they claim, I dare them to report on this corrupt Mueller investigation and his team that is stacked full of Democratic donors, and Mueller's buddy with James Comey and Comey had a friend leaked potentially classified information to the media so that Mueller, in fact, would be appointed. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/17/18, via Nexis]
Hannity: “Comey may have committed a number of crimes and misdeeds, things that I believe need to be investigated, including leaking classified, privileged information to the press.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): You would think as a former FBI director, you know, how can Comey make such a serious claim about a sitting U.S. president without anything to back it up?
And then the cherry on the cake of Comey's irresponsible, unhinged, personal tirade against Donald Trump was a new parroted the liberal talking point that Trump is unfit to serve. So, there you have it, sanctimonious Jim Comey casting judgment from his moral high ground and yet, he doesn't even know if the dossier is true but it was used to obtain a warrant. Now, if you watch this show, you know that Comey may have committed a number of crimes and misdeeds, things that I believe need to be investigated, including leaking classified, privileged information to the press. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/16/18, via Nexis]
Hannity: Comey’s “misdeeds” include “leaking potentially classified privileged notes to the press.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Instead of reporting facts, these so-called news outlets, they just literally push their own political narrative, all while hiding behind this, you know, feigned moral outrage, this moral facade, and calling themselves journalism -- journalists. So, while the media and the mainstream media gets mad at an -- I'm an opinion journalist host. By the way, frankly, we broke more news on this program that they have broken in a year and a half. They just echo the same talking points every night.
And they are totally happy to forget about all the former FBI Director Comey's misdeeds, including leaking potentially classified privileged notes to the press to set up a special counsel, his potential weaponization of the FISA court system, the special treatment he gave Hillary Clinton, who we know committed felonies during that email investigation. You know, he wrote the letter exonerating Clinton in May before he interviewed her in July and 17 other key witnesses. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/12/18, via Nexis]
Hannity: “Will the mainstream media actually address Comey's potentially unlawful leaking of classified information after he was fired?”
Mark Levin: “It's not a question if he leaked classified information, the question is how much classified information?”
Hannity: “We know that James Comey wrote memos on government computers, some of it classified … had a friend leak it” to the Times.
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Sarah Carter has reported the FBI general counsel, now, is also under investigation for leaking national security information again to the media.
We know that James Comey wrote memos on government computers, some of it classified and removed it from the FBI, had a friend leak it to “The New York Times”. He wanted a special counsel and he got it.
Now, the Department of Justice needs to find out who are these leakers, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. And, on top of that, the second big force, the destroy Trump media. Their so called reporting on this administration is so completely abusively biased, it has now reached unparalleled levels. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/1/17, via Nexis]
Hannity: “We believe” the memos Comey had “his friend leak … to The New York Times” “were classified.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let's continue with Comey having his friend leak information to The New York Times. By doing that, Comey could be putting himself again in serious legal trouble. Now, we're putting the pertinent parts of 18 U.S. code 641 on the side of your screen.
If those memos were classified -- which by the way, we believe they are, and several legal experts are arguing they are -- Comey may have broken the law. By the way, it's government property. And by the way, it's also likely that Comey created those memos on government computers in a government truck, making it property of the U.S. government, not James Comey. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/12/17, via Nexis]