The American authorities came upon concerning the memo, which was mentioned to precise confidence that the lawyer normal on the time, Loretta Lynch, wouldn’t let an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a non-public e-mail server go too far. Mr. Comey was mentioned to fret that if Ms. Lynch made and introduced the choice to not cost Ms. Clinton, Russia would put out the memo to make it appear illegitimate, resulting in his unorthodox choice to announce that the F.B.I. was recommending towards prices within the matter.
The Justice Division beneath then-President Donald Trump, who fired Mr. Comey and regarded him an enemy, searched for years to see whether or not it may discover proof enough to cost him with the crime of creating unauthorized disclosures of categorised info — a push that finally got here to concentrate on whether or not he had something to do with The Instances studying concerning the existence of the doc Russian hackers had stolen.
The long-running leak investigation into Mr. Comey was seen inside the Justice Division as probably the most politicized and contentious, even by the requirements of a division that had been prevailed upon in a number of situations to make use of leak investigations and different insurance policies regarding guide publication to assault former officers who criticized Mr. Trump.
All through final yr, prosecutors talked about whether or not or to not shut the leak investigation into Mr. Comey, in line with two folks accustomed to the case, partly as a result of there appeared to be little proof to indicate that the previous FBI director had shared categorised info with the press.
Final fall, division officers mentioned whether or not the investigation had run its course and prosecutors ought to draft a declination memo that may clarify why Mr. Comey wouldn’t be prosecuted, one of many folks mentioned. However the F.B.I. and the profession prosecutors engaged on the case needed to maintain the investigation open, the folks mentioned, and in January prosecutors obtained a particular court docket order to require Google to show over knowledge on the reporters’ emails.
With Mr. Trump quickly to be out of workplace, the order was controversial amongst some inside the division, in line with two folks with information of the case. It was seen as unusually aggressive for a case that may doubtless finish in no prices. Throughout the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration, no less than one official wrote in a memo that the case ought to be closed, in line with an individual accustomed to the transition.
Within the court docket filings looking for to compel Google to show over logs of who was speaking with the 4 reporters who wrote that story, the Justice Division persuaded the choose that the secrecy was justified as a result of, because the choose wrote on Jan. 5, “there may be cause to consider that notification of the existence of this order will significantly jeopardize the continuing investigation, together with by giving targets a possibility to destroy or tamper with proof.”