Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich reminded fellow “Outnumbered” co-host former Obama State Dept. spokesperson Marie Harf why she is not a good candidate to be playing down the importance of protecting classified information.
The two got into a back-and-forth on Thursday’s program about a letter Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this week seeking information about seven memos former FBI Director James Comey drafted after meetings with President Donald Trump, of which some of the content was leaked to the press.
After reviewing the memos in a secure location, which the FBI required, Grassley recounted in his letter to Rosenstein that four of the seven were marked either “secret” or “confidential.”
“According to press reports, Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to ‘detail (Comey’s) memos to the press,’” the senator wrote.
“If it’s true that Professor Richman had four of the seven memos,” Grassley continued, “then in light of the fact that four of the seven memos the Committee reviewed are classified, it would appear that at least one memo the former FBI director gave Professor Richman contained classified information.”
Pavlich contended that Comey’s decision to leak the memos raised serious legal questions, particularly given the professor did not have security clearance and the memos were likely FBI work products that the former director did not have the authority to share.
Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee last June, “My judgment was I needed to get that (information about Trump) out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo a reporter.”
“I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” he stated.
In one of the memos, Comey reportedly wrote that Trump expressed his desire that the FBI could go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn. In another, Comey recalled Trump allegedly saying, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”
Harf downplayed Comey’s offense in leaking the memos saying, “All indications are if some of these were classified, they were retroactively classified. He didn’t write them to be classified.”
She continued, “It also doesn’t mean that the information in the memos isn’t true. So while we can get mad at James Comey for the process by which he gave it to a friend, who then gave it to a reporter, the information in it and… the fact that he was fired in the way that he was has led us to the special counsel.”
“Which was his goal for leaking by the way,” Pavlich shot back. “That’s what he said.”
She added, “I know that the Obama State Department didn’t care much about classified information. How it was handled…”
“That’s a personal shot, as someone who worked there,” said Harf, who served as a spokesperson at the State Department in the spring of 2015, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private, unsecured email server came to light.
“It’s not a personal shot. It’s just the reality of the situation,” Pavlich replied. “We should care about how classified information was handled.” Harf agreed.
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