Comey reportedly under DOJ probe for second time over illegal leaks, media decries it as Trump payback

Screengrab CNN

For supporters of the president, one thing that may possibly rival the gratification of seeing President Donald Trump reelected would be a James Comey perp walk.

Fired FBI director James Comey is the target of an investigation into “a years-old leak of classified information about a Russian intelligence document.”

That’s according to the New York Times, which cited sources said to be familiar with the matter.

Federal prosecutors are reportedly focusing on whether the disgraced former bureau director illegally provided details to reporters, this being the second time that he has faced a Justice Department investigation into leaks.

Comey, who signed off on an investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia during the 2016 election, leaked the contents of a memo on private meetings he had with the president to the Times, which ultimately led to Robert Muller being appointed to launch an independent investigation.

Comey used close friend Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, as his conduit, admitting as much while testifying before the U.S. Senate:

The Department of Justice opted not to prosecute Comey, now a fierce critic of Trump, for improperly leaking the information.

At the center of the investigation is reportedly a “Russian intelligence document” that “played a key role” in Comey’s decision to bypass then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch at his infamous July 2016 news conference, when he announced that soon to be Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would not face charges over her use of a private email server.

This was when Comey stated “there is evidence of potential violations,” before adding that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The document included an apparent email exchange between Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., then chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Soros-founded Open Society Foundations.

More from the Times:

In the email, Ms. Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would make sure that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.

That document was one of the key factors that drove Mr. Comey to hold a news conference in July 2016 announcing that investigators would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Mr. Comey was concerned that if Ms. Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia could leak the email.


The Times took issue with a probe being launched on potentially illegal activity that occurred in the past, questioning the timing of the reported targeting of Comey.

“The timing of the investigation could raise questions about whether it was motivated at least in part by politics,” the paper stated. “Prosecutors and FBI agents typically investigate leaks of classified information around the time they appear in the news media, not years later.”

Noted attorney Mark Zaid took to Twitter to offer a possible explanation, though he said there was still reason to be skeptical.

Zaid tweeted: “I’ve handled numerous classified leak cases. Candidly there’s many legitimate reasons why investigation could be kicked off years after disclosure. That said, given this topic & subject alone should raise suspicions (or at least eyebrows) to any reasonable person.”

With accountability being a foreign concept in Washington and Comey being a darling of the left’s, the idea that he may have broken the law is of little concern when it can be spun as political payback by the president.

From CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti:

On the other hand, there was a suggestion the Times article was itself the result of a leak from Camp Comey, looking “to get out ahead of a bad story.”.

Here are a few other responses


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