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People Think FBI Director James Comey Had A Trump Lawn Sign

A viral photo shows a Trump/Pence sign outside a house he formerly lived in.

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A photo showing a Trump lawn sign outside the home of FBI Director James Comey is being shared as evidence of his political bias. But there's no evidence that Comey had anything to do with the sign.

Chris Grimm / Facebook / Via facebook.com

A resident of Westport, Connecticut, shared the photo on his Facebook page two days before the election.

"Share, if you think that Comey was trying to swing the election to Trump," wrote Chris Grimm, who said he lives nearby. "Absolutely undoctored photo. I took it myself."

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Grimm said he found the Trump sign outside of Comey's home to be a "striking image" that spoke to deeper concerns about the FBI director's actions during the election campaign, although he said he didn't necessarily think Comey had put it up himself.

"I hoped it would make people think," he said.

Public records indicate that Comey does own the 7,000-square-foot house, but it has been on the market since June of 2015, according to the local news site WestportNow.

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Gordon Joseloff, the editor and publisher of the site, told BuzzFeed News that Comey "has not lived in the house for several years."

Joseloff added that a protective FBI detail kept watch on the house when Comey still lived there, "and no one would have been able to place a sign or anything else outside the house."

The photo quickly made the rounds on partisan websites like Occupy Democrats, which claimed Comey had "just put a Trump sign on his front lawn."

Occupy Democrats / Via occupydemocrats.com

The site claimed it was evidence that Comey was "working behind the scenes" to elect Donald Trump, and the post received almost 100,000 shares, comments, and likes on Facebook.

A BuzzFeed News investigation found that Occupy Democrats and similar sites published a high number of false or misleading articles during the election campaign that served to reinforce partisan biases.

Comey has been strongly criticized by Democrats for a letter to Congress, sent less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 election, that announced the discovery of a new trove of emails as part of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server during her time as secretary of state. Clinton herself has said Comey's actions contributed to her election loss.

The photo has continued to circulate in the days since the election, with partisan pages and even some celebrities sharing it.

Facebook / Via Facebook: BetteMidler

Bette Midler posted it on her official page, which is followed by 1.5 million people.

While it does seem like someone placed a Trump sign outside the house shortly before the election, there is no reason to believe it was the FBI director who did so.

Chris Grimm / Facebook / Via facebook.com

The sign was also placed outside the gates, accessible to any member of the public. According to WestportNow, it was removed within a day.

The FBI press office declined to comment.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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