The American authorities discovered in regards to the memo, which was stated to specific confidence that the legal professional basic 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 stated 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 determination to announce that the F.B.I. was recommending towards expenses within the matter.
The Justice Department beneath then-President Donald Trump, who fired Mr. Comey and thought of him an enemy, hunted for years to see whether or not it may discover proof enough to cost him with the crime of creating unauthorized disclosures of labeled info — a push that finally got here to focus on whether or not he had something to do with The Times studying in regards to the existence of the doc Russian hackers had stolen.
The long-running leak investigation into Mr. Comey was seen inside the Justice Department as one of the vital 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.
Throughout final yr, prosecutors talked about whether or not or to not shut the leak investigation into Mr. Comey, in accordance with two folks acquainted with the case, partially as a result of there gave the impression to be just a little proof to point out that the previous FBI director had shared labeled info with the press.
Last fall, division officers mentioned whether or not the investigation had run its course and prosecutors ought to draft a declination memo that might clarify why Mr. Comey wouldn’t be prosecuted, one of many folks stated. But the F.B.I. and the profession prosecutors working on the case wished to maintain the investigation open, the folks stated, and in January prosecutors obtained a special court 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 accordance with two folks with data of the case. It was seen as unusually aggressive for a case that might doubtless finish in no expenses. During the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration, a minimum of one official wrote in a memo that the case needs to be closed, in accordance with an individual acquainted with the transition.
In 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 Department persuaded the decide that the secrecy was justified as a result of, because the decide wrote on Jan. 5, “there may be cause to imagine 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.”