03:06 GMT04 June 2020
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    Earlier, the US Department of Justice said it would not seek to prosecute the former FBI director over his role in leaking secret memos to the press related to his conversations with President Donald Trump, despite a referral from DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz recommending prosecution.

    The DoJ Office of the Inspector General has released a report on James Comey's alleged mishandling of "sensitive" information, accusing the former FBI director of violating FBI policy on the handling of memos related to his private communications with President Trump, and of setting a dangerous example for other agency employees.

    IG says its report is directed to the FBI and the Justice Department, and that it can be used "for action they deem appropriate".

    According to the report, in addition to leaking information to the media, Comey also failed to notify the agency that he had hung on to some of the memos from his conversations with Trump in a safe in his house after he was dismissed.

    Congressman Jim Jordan, the ranking member of the House committee on oversight and reform, released a statement on the DoJ IG report, calling it "a disappointing reminder that the former FBI Director put partisanship and personal ambition over patriotism and his legal obligations to the American people."

    "By leaking his confidential communications with the President in an attempt to save face in the wake of his firing, Mr. Comey believed he was above the rules of the DoJ," the statement put out by Jordan noted. "His actions were disgraceful and part of a wider effort within the Obama Justice Department to undermine President Trump."

    Earlier this month, US media reported that Attorney General William Barr had declined to move forward with Comey's prosecution, despite a referral by the DoJ Inspector General encouraging prosecution.

    In June 2017, Comey confirmed that he had asked a "friend" to share the content of a memo accusing Trump of firing him for paying too much attention to alleged 'Russian interference' in the 2016 presidential election campaign with a New York Times reporter. The Trump administration denied the claims, and repeatedly accused Comey of illegally leaking the classified information.

    Anonymous Washington sources speaking to The Hill later said that Barr and others had found the case against Comey "compelling", but reportedly felt that they did not have enough evidence to prove beyond a doubt that the former FBI director intended to break the law through his actions.

    The DoJ reiterated Thursday that it would not be seeking Comey's prosecution despite the leak.

    Comey himself took to Twitter on Thursday, accusing the DoJ IG of "lying" about him, and gloating about the DoJ's decision not to move forward with prosecution.

    Earlier this month, Fox News reported that the FBI was running a secret counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, and that the agency had repeatedly deceived the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the federal court overseeing requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies inside the US.

    Over two years of claims about possible Trump-Russia collusion by the media and Democratic officials collapsed in April 2019, when special counsel Robert Mueller released a comprehensive 448 page report indicating that he could not find any evidence of anyone from the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with any Russians. Mueller's only 'evidence of Russian meddling' in the 2016 campaign amounted to allegations of a Russian internet troll farm's campaign of influence, whose own effectiveness and even existence have been extensively challenged and debunked.

     

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