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Report: A government watchdog referred former FBI Director James Comey for prosecution over leaks

But Comey's not out of the woods, yet

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred former FBI Director James Comey for prosecution, but the Department of Justice decided to hold off on doing so for now, according to a report by The Hill.

According to the story, Horowitz's team referred Comey for possible prosecution for leaking classified FBI information to one of his friends after being fired in 2017, but while officials at the Department of Justice reportedly found the information "compelling" they didn't think there was sufficient evidence of Comey's criminal intent and are instead waiting for other ongoing investigations to pan out.

The investigation against Comey came about after it was reported in spring 2018 that he had leaked classified information to lawyer friend Daniel Richmond in a pair of memos documenting his 2017 interactions with President Trump before he was fired. Comey redacted information in one of the memos that he knew to be classified but passed the other along unredacted. After he left his job, the FBI deemed the second memo to be "confidential."

The information, however, was sensitive enough to require that a "scrub team" be sent to Richmond's office to ensure that all information had been sufficiently deleted, The Hill's story notes.

Comey's leaks also earned him a challenge to his bar status in New York earlier in 2018.

So why isn't DOJ prosecuting over this? The Hill cites "multiple sources" who said that there didn't appear to be sufficient evidence of criminal intent, i.e., that Comey didn't know that he was committing a crime when he leaked the information. Also, one source said, the department didn't want to "make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive."

But Comey and his old team aren't completely out of the oversight woods yet.

America is still waiting for the release of the anticipated bombshell of a report that Horowitz's team is still putting together on its investigation into FISA abuse and campaign surveillance during the 2016 election, and there's still other ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation accountable being led by top prosecutor John Durham.

One last thing…
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