Father: James Brien Comey, real estate professional
Mother: Joan (Herald) Comey
Marriage: Patrice (Failor) Comey (1987-present)
Children: Collin (deceased), Abby, Claire, Brien, Kate and Maurene
Education: College of William & Mary, B.S. with honors, 1982; University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1985
In 1977, Comey and his younger brother were held at gunpoint in their parents’ home by a man suspected of a series of rapes in the area.
Comey has worked on or overseen many high-profile cases as a US attorney and FBI director, including the prosecution of Martha Stewart
in the ImClone stock trading case
, the investigations into the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia
and of CIA Director David Petraeus
for passing confidential information to his lover.
In college, he majored in chemistry and religion, and wrote a thesis comparing the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr to the televangelist Jerry Falwell.
Comey and his wife, Patrice, have served as foster parents.
Comey is six feet eight inches tall.
1987-1993 – Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
1993 – Hired by private law firm McGuire Woods.
1996 – Partner at McGuire Woods, specializing in criminal defense and commercial litigation.
Deputy Special Counsel of the Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development Corporation and Related Matters, which looks into allegations that President Bill Clinton
and his wife, Hillary,
took part in a fraudulent real estate deal.
1996-2001 – Assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and head of the Richmond division. While in Richmond, he also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.
2001 – Comey is assigned to lead the investigation into the Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 American servicemen.
2002-2003 – US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
2003 – Brings charges against Martha Stewart of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud linked to selling ImClone Systems stock. Stewart is convicted on all counts in 2004 and sentenced to five months in prison.
2003-2005 – Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General John Ashcroft.
March 2004 –
While serving as acting attorney general while Ashcroft is hospitalized, Comey refuses to certify as lawful parts of a domestic wiretapping program overseen by President George W. Bush’s
administration. Comey later tells a Senate Judiciary Committee that then White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr., and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales
tried to get Ashcroft to approve the program from his bed in intensive care.
August 2005-2010 – Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Lockheed Martin Corp.
2010-2013 – Counsel at Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut investment company.
2013 – Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow at Columbia University.
September 4, 2013 – Sworn in as director of the FBI.
July 5, 2016 – Says he will not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. He notes, however, that Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” handling classified information.
July 6, 2016 – Testifies before the House Oversight Committee on the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
July 7, 2016 – Testifies that he has been a registered Republican for most of his adult life but that he is “not registered any longer.” He says the FBI is “resolutely apolitical.”
October 28, 2016 – Eleven days before the presidential election, Comey informs Congress in a letter that the FBI is reviewing new emails related to Clinton’s time as secretary of state. The emails are discovered as part of an investigation into former Congressman Anthony Weiner and were sent or received by Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife.
November 6, 2016 –
After reviewing the newly discovered emails, Comey tells lawmakers the agency has not changed its opinion that Clinton should not face criminal charges
. His decision comes two days before the presidential election.
January 12, 2017 –
The Justice Department announces its inspector general’s office has launched a probe
into the DOJ and the FBI’s handling, under Comey, of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
March 20, 2017 – During a hearing on Capitol Hill,
Comey confirms the FBI is investigating links between Russia and members of President Donald Trump’s
May 3, 2017 – Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey strongly defends his decision
to alert Congress just days before the 2016 election about his agency’s investigation into emails potentially related to Clinton’s personal server, telling senators while the idea of impacting the election made him “mildly nauseous,” he would not change what he did.
May 9, 2017 – Trump fires Comey
after Attorney General Jeff Sessions
and deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein recommend his removal, due to his decision to recommend no charges be filed against Clinton and the news conference he held to explain his reasoning for it.
June 7, 2017 – Comey releases his written testimony
regarding his interactions with Trump regarding the Russia investigation
a day early of his scheduled hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
June 8, 2017 – Comey testifies
before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he believes Trump was directing him to drop the probe into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, although he also says that Trump never told him explicitly to do so. Comey also reveals that he orchestrated the leak of accounts of conversations with Trump because he thought it might lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation.
November 22, 2018 – The House Judiciary Committee issues subpoenas to Comey
and to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch
to privately testify about FBI actions in the 2016 campaign. Comey tweets that he will “resist a ‘closed door’ thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion. Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.” His attorney indicates Comey will fight the order in court if necessary.
December 2, 2018 – Comey agrees to sit for a private deposition with House Republicans after filing a legal challenge to force a public hearing.
“Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in,” Comey says in a Twitter post. “So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.”
December 7, 2018 –
is interviewed by members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in a closed-door session. He tells reporters
afterward that “we are talking again about Hillary Clinton’s emails, for heaven’s sakes.”
July 31-August 1, 2019 – CNN and other outlets report
that the Justice Department inspector general’s office referred Comey for potential prosecution over his handling of memos that the FBI later determined contained classified information. But Justice Department prosecutors declined to prosecute Comey, in part because they didn’t believe there was evidence to show Comey knew and intended to violate laws on handling classified information. At issue were 2017 memos about Comey’s meetings with Trump that he shared with a friend and attorney, Daniel Richman, who then shared the information with a New York Times reporter.
August 29, 2019 –
The Justice Department’s inspector general releases a report,
stating Comey violated FBI policy when he retained and leaked a set of memos he wrote, documenting meetings with Trump in 2017.
September 30, 2020 – Comey testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing,
responding to questions concerning the decision to open the Russia investigation in July 2016 to the FBI’s knowledge of problems with the opposition search dossier on Trump and Russia that was used in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants. Comey defended the investigation as “appropriate” and “essential” and noted that it began before the dossier was given to the FBI and that it resulted in several indictments. He however acknowledged problems with the FISA warrants obtained on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.