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Justice Dept. Obtained Gag Order on Times Executives in Secret Fight Over Email Logs

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Justice Dept. Obtained Gag Order on Times Executives in Secret Fight Over Email Logs

The American authorities discovered concerning the memo, which was stated to specific confidence that the legal professional normal on the time, Loretta Lynch, wouldn’t let an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server go too far. Mr. Comey was stated to fret that if Ms. Lynch made and introduced the choice to not cost Ms. Clinton, Russia would put out the memo to make it appear illegitimate, resulting in his unorthodox determination to announce that the F.B.I. was recommending in opposition to costs within the matter.

The Justice Division underneath then-President Donald Trump, who fired Mr. Comey and thought of him an enemy, searched for years to search out proof enough to cost him with the crime of constructing unauthorized disclosures of categorized data — a push that finally got here to give attention to whether or not he had something to do with The Instances’s studying concerning the existence of the doc Russian hackers had stolen.

The long-running leak investigation into Mr. Comey was seen inside the Justice Division as probably the most politicized and contentious, even by the requirements of a division that had been prevailed upon in a number of cases to make use of leak investigations and different insurance policies regarding e-book publication to assault former officers who criticized Mr. Trump.

All through final yr, prosecutors talked about whether or not or to not shut the leak investigation into Mr. Comey, based on two individuals aware of the case, partly as a result of there gave the impression to be little proof to point out that the previous F.B.I. director had shared categorized data with the press.

Final fall, division officers mentioned whether or not the investigation had run its course and prosecutors ought to draft a declination memo that will clarify why Mr. Comey wouldn’t be prosecuted, one of many individuals stated. However the F.B.I. and the profession prosecutors engaged on the case wished to maintain the investigation open, the individuals stated, and in January prosecutors obtained a particular court docket order to require Google to show over knowledge on the reporters’ emails.

With Mr. Trump quickly to be out of workplace, the order was controversial amongst some inside the division, based on two individuals with information of the case. It was seen as unusually aggressive for a case that will probably finish in no costs. Through the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration, no less than one official wrote in a memo that the case ought to be closed, based on an individual aware of the transition.

Within the court docket filings looking for to compel Google to show over logs of who was speaking with the 4 reporters who wrote that story, the Justice Division persuaded the choose that the secrecy was justified as a result of, because the choose wrote on Jan. 5, “there may be motive to consider that notification of the existence of this order will severely jeopardize the continued investigation, together with by giving targets a possibility to destroy or tamper with proof.”

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