Federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether former FBI Director James B. Comey illegally leaked classified details about a Russian-intelligence document.
The New York Times reported Thursday evening, citing “people familiar with the inquiry,” that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington is investigating Mr. Comey as part of a probe into 2017 articles published in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
The investigation began in recent months, which, according to the Times, raises questions about political motivation in the timing.
According to the Times, the Russian-intelligence document was first obtained by hackers working for the Dutch government, and then passed onto the FBI.
“The document played a key role in Mr. Comey’s decision to sideline the Justice Department and announce in July 2016 that the F.B.I. would not recommend that Hillary Clinton face charges in her use of a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state,” the Times wrote.
President Trump has frequently denounced Mr. Comey as, among other things, a serial leaker.
Mr. Comey has been investigated on suspicion of leaking classified material before.
Federal prosecutors in New York investigated Mr. Comey’s providing the contents of a memo about his meetings with Mr. Trump to a lawyer-friend Daniel C. Richman.
They determined that what he gave Mr. Richman was not classified, though some of his other memos did contain classified information.
The Justice Department inspector-general determined that Mr. Comey had violated FBI policy, but prosecutors did not bring criminal charges on that basis.