According to several Washington officials, former FBI Director James Comey knowingly used a fake piece of information, created by Russian intelligence, during the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The Russian intelligence contained a doctored memo claiming that the then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had been compromised by the Clinton investigation. The memo described emails between former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and an official at the billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Schulz supposedly revealed to the official that then-attorney general Loretta Lynch had privately told a Clinton campaign staffer that the FBI would not take the investigation too far.

Comey described this memo in classified meetings with Congress members several months ago. According to a government official, the former FBI Director was worried that the Russian intelligence could “drop” at any moment, damaging both the Clinton investigation and the Justice Department overall.

However, Comey failed to share with the lawmakers in these meeting that there the intelligence was dubious. Officials do not know why Comey did not say this.

This Wednesday The Washington Post reported that the Russian intelligence was unreliable. Now, official sources have revealed to the media that Comey and FBI officials used this critical, but artificial, information on purpose. Again, they feared that if the information went public, it would hurt the investigation and the Justice Department.

According to sources close to the former FBI director, Comey also felt that it did not matter if the Russian intelligence was true. He believed that, if the Russians leaked the information, law enforcement and intelligence officials would not be able to discredit it without losing valuable intelligence sources and practices.

Consequentially, last summer Comey publicly declared in an impromptu press conference that the Clinton investigation was over. In a classified document several months later, he stated that the Russian intelligence, omitting that it was false, was his main reason for ending the Clinton email probe.

However, in his public testimony last summer, Comey stated that his reason for ending the investigation related to Lynch. He believed that Lynch was compromised because Bill Clinton had been on a plane ride with her, possibly endangering the ongoing FBI investigation.

At the same time, Comey called Hillary Clinton “extremely careless” with her handling of classified information during his press conference.

Because he ended the investigation on his own accord, acting independently of the Justice Department and not consulting with then-Attorney General Lynch, Comey received a great amount of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

A month after Comey’s public announcement about the Clinton investigation, FBI officials briefed Attorney General Lynch about the Russian intelligence at hand. Lynch stated that she had “never communicated” with the Clinton campaign staffer in the memo. She also offered to be formally interviewed by the FBI.

The FBI revealed to her the possibility that the memo had been doctored; however, it did not decide to interview Lynch.

With the revelation that false Russian intelligence may have affected Comey’s actions in relation to the Clinton investigation, Americans are now further questioning Comey’s decision to reopen the Clinton investigation 11 days before the election.

At this time, Comey felt that he needed to tell Congress about the emails the FBI had recently discovered. The emails were possibly relevant because Comey had already publicly disclosed the details of the Clinton investigation, as well as given a congressional testimony three months before the election.

Comey’s decisions in relation to the Clinton investigation ultimately show the big role Russian influence played in the decisions of top U.S. officials during the 2016 election campaign.

According to the aforementioned officials, Russia is still attempting to use elected officials, as well as American intelligence and law enforcement operatives, to spread false information in the U.S. to this day.

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