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FBI: Top Lawyer Leaving Bureau         05/31 09:33

   

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI's top lawyer, Dana Boente, who has spent nearly 
40 years with the Justice Department but has been targeted for criticism over 
the last year by some conservative commentators and supporters of President 
Donald Trump for his role in the Russia investigation, is leaving the bureau.

   Boente has most recently served as the FBI's general counsel but has held a 
variety of roles in his 38-year Justice Department career, including acting 
attorney general in the early days of the Trump administration, a United States 
attorney in Virginia and the acting head of the department's national security 
division.

   The FBI said that Boente had given notice on Friday that he intended to 
retire effective June 30, the bureau said.

   "Throughout his long and distinguished career as a public servant, Dana has 
demonstrated a selfless determination to ensure that justice is always served 
on behalf of our citizens," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement 
announcing Boente's departure. "We should all be grateful for his dedication to 
the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the American people."

   Boente became acting attorney general in early 2017 after Sally Yates, a 
holdover from the Obama administration, was fired after refusing to defend the 
president's travel ban, and remained in that role until Jeff Sessions was 
installed.

   As a top Justice Department official, he approved one of three applications 
to renew secret surveillance warrants targeting former Trump campaign adviser 
Carter Page. A Justice Department inspector general report from December said 
those applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had 
significant errors and omissions that cut against the FBI's premise that Page, 
who was never charged with any wrongdoing, was an agent of a foreign power.

   The report said that Boente and other Justice Department officials "did not 
have accurate and complete information" from the FBI at the time they approved 
them.

   Even so, Boente has nonetheless been criticized by conservative figures for 
his involvement in the Russia probe.

   A Facebook post in February from the conservative group Judicial Watch 
announced that its president, Tom Fitton, would appear on Fox Business News 
with host Lou Dobbs to discuss topics including "the discovery that the FBI's 
Chief Legal Counsel, Dana Boente, participated in fraudulent FISA warrants on 
Carter Page."

   In April, Dobbs himself alleged that Boente and Wray were blocking the 
disclosure of "exculpatory" information about former Trump national security 
adviser Michael Flynn. The FBI and Justice Department denied that that was the 
case.

   NBC News first reported Boente's departure and said he had been asked to 
resign by the Justice Department. Wray's statement made no mention of that. The 
Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.

 
 
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