The American authorities discovered concerning the memo, which was mentioned to precise confidence that the legal professional 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 below then-President Donald Trump, who fired Mr. Comey and thought of him an enemy, searched for years to search out proof enough to cost him with the crime of creating unauthorized disclosures of labeled data — a push that finally got here to deal with whether or not he had something to do with The Occasions’s 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 12 months, prosecutors talked about whether or not or to not shut the leak investigation into Mr. Comey, in response to two individuals accustomed to the case, partly as a result of there appeared to be little proof to point out that the previous F.B.I. director had shared labeled data 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 individuals mentioned. However the F.B.I. and the profession prosecutors engaged on the case needed to maintain the investigation open, the individuals mentioned, and in January prosecutors obtained a particular courtroom order to require Google to show over information on the reporters’ emails.
With Mr. Trump quickly to be out of workplace, the order was controversial amongst some inside the division, in response to two individuals with information of the case. It was seen as unusually aggressive for a case that may doubtless finish in no prices. In the course of 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 response to an individual accustomed to the transition.
Within the courtroom filings in search of to compel Google to show over logs of who was speaking with the 4 reporters who wrote that story, the Justice Division persuaded the decide that the secrecy was justified as a result of, because the decide 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 chance to destroy or tamper with proof.”