The Department of Justice has begun an investigation into whether then-FBI Director James Comey leaked classified information on a Russian document.

The New York Times reported Thursday night:

Law enforcement officials are scrutinizing at least two news articles about the F.B.I. and Mr. Comey, published in The New York Times and The Washington Post in 2017, that mentioned the Russian government document, according to the people familiar with the investigation. Hackers working for Dutch intelligence officials obtained the document and provided it to the F.B.I., and both its existence and the collection of it were highly classified secrets, the people said.

The document played a key role in Mr. Comey’s decision to sideline the Justice Department and announce in July 2016 that the F.B.I. would not recommend that Hillary Clinton face charges in her use of a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state.

The document has “a discussion between Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., then the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Leonard Benardo, who worked with the George Soros-founded group Open Society Foundations.”

Schultz told Bernado that “then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch would ensure Clinton was not prosecuted in the email probe.”

Schultz and Bernado denied having contact with each other. Both said “the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.”

Despite people calling the document unreliable, it played a key “role in Comey’s decision to unilaterally announce in the summer of 2016, without seeking Lynch’s approval, that no ‘reasonable prosecutor’ would charge Clinton.”

Comey used it because he thought “Russia could leak the email and undermine the investigation’s appearance of impartiality otherwise.”

The department has also focused on Columbia law professor Daniel Richman, a long-time friend Comey. They want to know if he “played a role in providing the information to reporters about the Russia document and how it figured into Mr. Comey’s rationale about the news conference.”

Comey hired Richman as an FBI consultant. He helped with “encryption and other complex issues.” Richman had security clearance and a badge to enter the FBI building.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe already admitted he lied to investigators about leaking information to the media.


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