Former FBI Director James Comey ended the Hillary Clinton email investigation last summer amid worries that the credibility of the bureau and the investigation itself would be damaged because of a false email planted by the Russians.
According to CNN, Comey — who was fired earlier this month by President Donald Trump — was afraid a falsified email that claimed then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had colluded to get Clinton off the hook would become public if he did not end the investigation.
The existence of the fake email between then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schlultz and Leonard Benardo, an official at the Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros, was reported on Wednesday. In it, Wasserman-Schultz said that Lynch had told an aide on the Clinton campaign she would not allow the Clinton investigation to go too deep.
Friday's CNN story shows that the FBI knew the email was a plant by the Russians prior to Comey's infamous press conference last July during which he seemingly made the case for charges to be filed against Clinton before ending it by not recommending any charges.
Comey argued that Clinton was "extremely careless" in how she conducted business as secretary of state using a private email server and several addresses. His decision not to recommend charges was criticized by Republicans, who felt there was enough evidence to make a criminal case.
A government official told CNN Comey expressed his concerns to members of Congress in classified sessions about what could happen if the false email had been made public. The U.S., he said, would have to compromise sources and of intelligence and methods of intelligence collection to show the document wasn't real.
He did not, however, tell lawmakers about the doubts he had regarding the intelligence itself before he ended the investigation.
Lynch came under fire after meeting with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport days before Comey's aforementioned press conference. Lynch said the two talked about personal matters, but there is suspicion about whether a deal was struck regarding the email probe.
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