The American authorities came upon in regards to the memo, which was mentioned to precise 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 electronic 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 determination to announce that the F.B.I. was recommending towards fees within the matter.
The Justice Division below then-President Donald Trump, who fired Mr. Comey and regarded him an enemy, looked for years to seek out proof enough to cost him with the crime of creating unauthorized disclosures of categorised info — a push that ultimately got here to deal with whether or not he had something to do with The Instances’s 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 Division as one of the crucial 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 e-book 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 accordance with two folks conversant in the case, partially as a result of there appeared to be little proof to point out that the previous F.B.I. 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 might 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 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 information of the case. It was seen as unusually aggressive for a case that might seemingly finish in no fees. Throughout the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration, at the very least one official wrote in a memo that the case ought to be closed, in accordance with an individual conversant in the transition.
Within the court docket filings searching 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 decide that the secrecy was justified as a result of, because the decide wrote on Jan. 5, “there’s motive to imagine that notification of the existence of this order will significantly jeopardize the continued investigation, together with by giving targets a chance to destroy or tamper with proof.”