Comey knew Russian Clinton-Lynch documents were fake but acted on them anyway: report
James Comey (screenshot)

During the 2016 presidential election, former FBI Director James Comey acted on Russian intelligence that he knew to be false, sources tell CNN.

CNN reports that Comey knew that Russian documents that made shocking allegations about former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch were false -- but that he treated them as though they were real because he feared them leaking out.

The documents, which were intercepted from Russian communications, alleged that Lynch had given Hillary Clinton secret assurances that she would not let the FBI investigate her private email server too deeply.

Comey feared that if these documents leaked, they would throw the FBI's entire investigation into doubt, despite the fact that he knew they were filled with false information.

"Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn't matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods," CNN reports. "In at least one classified session, Comey cited that intelligence as the primary reason he took the unusual step of publicly announcing the end of the Clinton email probe."

When Comey announced the conclusion of the email server probe, he scolded Clinton for exhibiting "extreme carelessness" for setting up her own private email server while working at the State Department, but said he nonetheless would not charge her with any crime.