The former FBI director, who stepped down amid the alleged Russian meddling turmoil, has already faced accusations of passing information and has repeatedly been trashed by US President Donald Trump as a “leaker”. A new investigation purportedly concerns some classified Russian government paper on ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The US Department of Justice is investigating former FBI director James Comey on suspicions that he illegally shared a classified document from Russian intelligence with reporters, the New York Post and The Washington Post report. The probe concerns 2017 materials by these two outlets based on the paper, allegedly assumed to be bad intelligence, on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The document in question is said to have claimed “a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the [Obama] Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server”, as the Washington Post noted in 2017.
It reportedly referred to a discussion between Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chaired the Democratic National Committee at the time, and former staffer at George Soros-founded Open Society Foundations Leonard Benardo.
According to this alleged conversation, Loretta E. Lynch, then-Attorney General had told someone in Clinton’s team that the probe into the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server would not push too deep. The people mentioned in the document, however, refuted they were even acquainted and had any talks of this kind.
This document reportedly played a part in then-FBI director Comey’s decision in July 2016 to announce that no “reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton. According to The New York Times, he was concerned that if the classified information was leaked, it could cast a shadow on the impartiality of the investigation.
Now prosecutors are said to be looking into Comey to find out if he was one of the “persons familiar with” the document in question, cited by one of the outlets. The probe was purportedly launched in the last couple of months; however, there is no information on why it was initiated. Neither Comey nor the US Attorney’s office in Washington has commented on the matter.
Comey, branded by his persistent critic, US President Donald Trump, a “leaker” has already been investigated over similar allegations of providing The New York Times with memos on his communications with Trump, featuring the “code name and true identity” of a sensitive source, before his resignation as FBI director.
Although Comey admitted that he did so during congressional testimony, the DOJ decided in 2019 not to prosecute Comey for leaking classified information as the documents in question were labelled “confidential” after he gave these documents to a friend who later passed them to the press.