Legal expert claims that Comey’s release of memos is de facto evidence he may have committed criminal espionage
04/27/2018 // JD Heyes // Views

If you are one of a shrinking number of Americans who still don’t believe fired FBI Director James Comey really stepped in it when he handed over classified memos to a friend for the purpose of having them leaked to the media, one legal expert experienced in high-profile cases may just be able to change your mind.

In a series of tweets Tuesday, Los Angeles-based attorney Robert Barnes says based on Comey’s actions there is probable cause for him to be arrested and later indicted on a charge of “criminal espionage” for leaking memos he says he wrote following meetings he had with President Donald J. Trump.

“THREAD: As explained on @foxnewsnight w/ @ShannonBream, there is probable cause @Comey committed CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE against Trump when he leaked #ComeyMemos. The law punishes espionage w/ a 10 year federal prison sentence & can be found at 18 USC 793(f),” he began in a tweet containing a link to the relative statute at Cornell School of Law’s website.

He goes onto note that, “Contrary to what you may hear, a person can be convicted of CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE even if they do not leak classified material & even if they only remove, but do not share, national security information. Criminal Espionage laws were written before we had a classification system.”

As he continued to tweet his explanation, he noted that the burden of proof for the charge of criminal espionage only requires that someone who is entrusted with “national defense-related information” remove it from where it belongs or disclose it to people who are not authorized to possess it — either intentionally or through “gross negligence,” which is a legal standard in espionage cases.


You may recall that, not-so-ironically, Comey himself took that phrase out of his pre-determined, pre-edited exoneration statement he read to the press in July 2016 when he told the nation he would not recommend Hillary Clinton be indicted for her criminal mishandling of classified information (after laying out the case as to why she should have been referred for prosecution). Comey allowed FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok to change “gross negligence” to “extremely careless,” which has no legal implications.

“The courts have defined ‘national defense related’ information very broadly in the seminal Supreme Court case of Gorin v. United States, effectively deferring to the judgment of the jury as to what constitutes national defense related information,” Barnes noted further.

“Some courts limited the Criminal Espionage statute to information which is ‘potentially dangerous’ to disclose to national security and ‘closely held’ information. That same court also said the information did not have to ever be classified for it to be a crime to disclose it,” he wrote. (Related: Trump slams Comey over memos, says parts of them were “totally made up.”)

What is key, said Barnes, is that for Comey to have classified his memos as either “confidential” or “secret,” he would have necessarily admitted that they were indeed the property of the U.S. government, which makes their disclosure “reasonably expected” to be detrimental to national security.

“Now add in: Classified Information NDA @Comey signed to be FBI Director, his sophisticated longtime use of classified information, his admission that information did not have to be marked classified in the Hillary press conference, and his record prosecuting whistleblowers,” Barnes wrote.

‘NDA’ stands for “non-disclosure agreement,” which Comey would have been required to sign as a condition of his acceptance of his position. 

“Adds up to one thing: there is probable cause that James @Comey committed CRIMINAL ESPIONAGE when he removed the #ComeyMemos from FBI exclusive control & custody after his firing (the first crime) & then gave them to an unauthorized person (the 2nd crime). #MultipleFelonies” Barnes concluded.

Now, will Attorney General Jeff Sessions move on this evidence? Is he already moving on it? 

Perhaps. Comey lawyered up this week.

Read more about James Comey corruption at

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

Sources include:

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