The U.S. government learned of the note, which was said to be confident that the attorney general at the time, Loretta Lynch, would not allow the investigation into the use of a private Hillary Clinton e-mail server to be too far away. Mr. Comey was said to be concerned that if Mrs. Lynch made and announced the decision not to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia would issue the note to make her appear illegitimate, which led to her unorthodox decision. to announce that the FBI recommended charges in the matter.
The Department of Justice of then-President Donald Trump, who fired Mr. Comey and considered him an enemy, tried for years to find enough evidence to charge him with the crime of unauthorized disclosure of classified information, a push that ultimately he focused on whether it had anything to do with the Times ’knowledge of the existence of the document the Russian pirates had stolen.
The long-running leak investigation into Mr. Comey was seen within the Justice Department as one of the most politicized and disputed, even by the rules of a department that had imposed itself in several cases to use investigations of leaks and other book-related policies. publication to attack former officials who criticized Trump.
Over the past year, prosecutors have talked about whether or not to close Mr. Comey’s leak investigation, according to two people familiar with the case, in part because there appeared to be little evidence to show that the former director of the ‘The FBI had shared classified information with the press.
Last fall, department officials discussed whether the investigation had followed its course and prosecutors had to draft a declination note explaining why Mr. Comey would not be prosecuted, one of the people said. But the FBI and the career prosecutors working on the case wanted to keep the investigation open, according to people, and in January prosecutors obtained a special court order to require Google to hand over data from journalists ’emails.
With Mr. Trump soon out of the office, the order was controversial by some in the department, according to two people with knowledge of the case. He was considered unusually aggressive for a case that would probably end up without any charge. During the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, at least one official wrote in a note that the case should be closed, according to someone familiar with the transition.
In court proceedings attempting to force Google to release records of who was communicating with the four journalists who wrote this story, the Justice Department convinced the judge that secrecy was justified because, as the judge wrote on January 5, , “there is reason to believe that notification of the existence of such an order will jeopardize ongoing investigation, even giving targets the opportunity to destroy or manipulate evidence.”