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Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Politicon

The Department of Justice appears to be investigating former FBI director James Comey for illegally leaking information to reporters years ago, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Investigations concerning news leaks often take place around the time the information appears in the media, and not years after the fact, per the Times. This investigation raises concerns it might be politically motivated.

  • The Trump administration may be looking to make an example of Comey for leaks, the Times notes.

The state of play: The investigation reportedly focuses on at least two news articles about the FBI and Comey published by The New York Times and The Washington Post in 2017.

  • The articles mention a highly classified Russian government document which influenced Comey's decision to not recommend Hillary Clinton face charges over her use of private emails while secretary of state.

Flashback: This is the second time Comey is being investigated for allegedly leaking information. He was previously investigated for his handling of sensitive information regarding Russia.

The bottom line: “Leak cases are incredibly difficult to prosecute,” former DOJ lawyer Brian J. Fleming told the Times.

  • “They are very challenging to present to a jury both as an evidentiary matter and in terms of presenting a compelling, coherent narrative."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
33 mins ago - Economy & Business

The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.