Citing law enforcement sources, NBC News backed a Wednesday report that alleged Attorney General William Barr declined to prosecute Comey, despite a referral from DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Horowitz and his team’s referral recommended the DoJ pursue prosecution under classified information protection laws.
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” the former FBI director said during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017 after he was fired by US President Donald Trump in May of that year.
When asked for more information about the individual to whom he was referring, Comey simply said the individual was a “professor at Columbia Law School.”
The individual was soon identified as attorney and professor Daniel Richman. The memo, which was later published by the New York Times, alleged that Trump fired Comey for putting too much attention on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Barr and other prosecutors are said to have found Horowitz’s referral “compelling,” but did not believe they had enough evidence to prove Comey intended to break the law, according to multiple sources that spoke with The Hill.
One source told the outlet that the DoJ was hesitant to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive.”
Amid the Wednesday report of the DoJ decision, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News that while he trusts Barr’s judgment, he finds the DoJ head’s decision “shocking,” considering Horowitz’s referral.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Thursday, US President Donald Trump said he knows nothing about the attorney general’s refusal to prosecute, but echoed his 2018 sentiments that Comey “illegally leaked classified documents to the press”
James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council? Therefore, the Special Council was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
On Tuesday, Trump declared a major victory and “total & complete vindication & exoneration from the Russian, WikiLeaks and every other form of HOAX perpetrated by the DNC, radical Democrats and others” after a US federal court dismissed the Democratic National Convention’s (DNC) multi-million dollar lawsuit against Russia and himself.
The lawsuit also alleged Russia committed cybercrimes in the 2018 midterm elections and attempted to hack the network belonging to a senator and critic of Trump.