On May 16, 2017, details from a James Comey Memo were leaked to the New York Times.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel.
Comey specifically noted he leaked his Memos to obtain Special Counsel appointment.
Which brings us to Comey’s actual Memos – five of which were released last night:
Quick Note: Redactions = Classified. If Comey leaked his unredacted Memos…
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 20, 2018
There were three specific paragraphs, contained within the first Memo, that I found of particular interest. The Memo is dated January 7, 2017 and documents a January 6, 2017 meeting between Comey and President Trump:
At the conclusion of our session, the COS [Chief of Staff Priebus] asked whether there is anything we haven’t mentioned that they should know or that might come out. I said there was something that Clapper wanted me to speak to the PE [President-Elect] about alone or in a very small group.
I then executed the session exactly as I had planned. I told him [President Trump] that I wanted to meet with him to tell him more about what is in the reports written by [redacted – likely Steele]. I said that the written reports themselves were [redacted] and the content known at IC senior level and that I didn’t want him to get caught cold by some of the detail.
I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [REDACTED] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.
In an earlier post, I noted the following:
It now appears likely that Brennan and Clapper used information from the Dossier in the Intelligence Community Assessment.
The report was released Jan. 6, 2017 – the same day intelligence officials attached a written summary of the dossier to a highly classified Russia briefing they gave Obama about the dossier, and the day after [Jan. 5, 2017] Obama held a secret White House meeting to discuss the dossier with his national-security adviser and FBI director.
Susan Rice would later send herself an email documenting the January 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting.
Comey’s first Memo (above) documents a meeting with President Trump on January 6, 2017.
This meeting took place just hours after Comey, Brennan and Clapper formally briefed Obama on both the ICA and the Steele Dossier.
And one day after Comey met with Obama to discuss Russian Interference in the 2016 Election.
Shortly after Comey’s meeting with President Trump both the Trump/Comey meeting and the existence of the Dossier were leaked.
The significance of the meeting was material – Comey said so himself:
I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material.
The media had widely dismissed the Dossier as unsubstantiated and unreportable. It was only after learning that Comey briefed President-Elect Trump that CNN reported on the Dossier:
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Which brings us to this from a March 22, 2018 post:
The House Intelligence Committee’s final Report noted the following:
Finding #42: The leaks prior to the classified Intelligence Community Assessment’s publication, particularly leaks occurring after the U.S. presidential election, correlate to specific language found in the Intelligence Community Assessment.
Finding #44: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, provided inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN.
DNI James Clapper was likely the individual who leaked information of Comey’s meeting with President Trump to CNN.
The CNN report would establish the second phase of the Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative. It would lead to AG Sessions’ recusal – and the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel.
Another item of material significance surfaced in Comey’s interview with Jake Tapper. Byron York caught what was – and wasn’t said:
We had known earlier that Comey briefed Trump about the dossier one-on-one on January 6, 2017. But it was not until an interview Thursday with CNN’s Jake Tapper that Comey revealed the conversation was only about the Moscow sex allegation.
The other parts of the dossier — about Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, allegations of collusion — Comey did not mention to the president-elect. No wonder Trump associated the dossier with the Moscow sex story.
From the Tapper/Comey Interview transcript:
TAPPER: So, let’s talk about the investigation and what you can talk about it. In January, 2017 when you met with President Trump and you did that oral presentation of what’s in that two page memo, summarizing the Steele dossier. We know from the book that you talked about these unverified allegations involving him and prostitutes.
Did you brief him about any — any of the other things in the Steele dossier, claims that his associates, Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, were potentially working with the Russians? Or was it only about the prostitutes?
COMEY: It was only about the salacious part of it.
TAPPER: Why? Why only about that?
COMEY: Because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about because we knew it and thought it was about to become public. And if it was true, we didn’t know whether it was true, it would be important to let him know this as part of a defensive briefing.
Allow the significance of that final statement sink in.
That was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about.
As Byron York rightly notes:
Former British spy Christopher Steele and the opposition research group Fusion GPS — had little faith in the veracity of the Moscow sex story. Steele once reportedly said there was perhaps a 50-50 chance of the story being true, and Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson considered the Russia source of the story a “big talker” who might have made it up to impress Steele.
But that is the story that the FBI director chose to tell the president on January 6, 2017. It is the story that was leaked and ended up in full public view not long after.
Small wonder that President Trump began to question where Comey’s loyalties really lay.
But all is not going well for Comey. He has generally come off poorly. And there have been some amusing signs of dissension.
Comey’s book contains some comments regarding former AG Lynch:
Had it become public, the unverified material would undoubtedly have been used by political opponents to cast serious doubt on the attorney general’s independence in connection with the Clinton investigation…a development still unknown to the American public to this day.
Which prompted a response from Ms. Lynch:
Statement from former AG Loretta Lynch on Comey pic.twitter.com/w9lRIT0dwS
— Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) April 15, 2018
Throughout the process I did what I always do: rise above politics and uphold the law. At no time did I ever discuss any aspect of the investigation with anyone from the Clinton campaign or the DNC.
I have known James Comey almost 30 years. Throughout his time as Director we spoke regularly about some of the most sensitive issues in law enforcement and national security. If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did.
Lynch issued her statement directly in front of Comey’s interview with George Stephanopoulos. Her statement notably failed to address discussions with Bill Clinton.
During an interview on The View, Comey commented on McCabe:
I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person but the inspector general found he lied.
Which prompted a statement from McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich:
In his comments this week about the McCabe matter, former FBI Director James Comey has relied on the accuracy and the soundness of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) conclusions in their report on Mr. McCabe. In fact, the report fails to adequately address the evidence (including sworn testimony) and documents that prove that Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey repeatedly that he was working with the Wall Street Journal on the stories in question prior to publication. Neither Mr. Comey nor the OIG is infallible, and in this case neither of them has it right.
When stories conflict, the complicit turn on each other…
It turns out the Inspector General has already referred McCabe for Criminal Prosecution:
The Justice Department inspector general referred his finding that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators to Washington’s top federal prosecutor.
The referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia occurred some time ago.
The referral raises the possibility that McCabe could be charged and jailed for his alleged misconduct — perhaps with Comey testifying as a witness against him.
The referral occurred some time ago…
Following release of the Comey Memos, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy issued a joint statement:
Former Director Comey’s memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated.
The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier.
The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened.
These memos would be Defense Exhibit A should such a charge [Obstruction by President Trump] be made.
There appears to be nothing within any of the Comey Memos that would legitimize the appoint of a Special Counsel.
On April 19, 2018, Bloomberg reported the following:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he isn’t a target of any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation or the probe into his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.
President Trump commented on the report:
We want to get the investigation over with, done with, put it behind us. And we have to get back to business.
Which brings us to this. Rudy Giuliani is joining President Trump’s legal team:
Giuliani told CNN his focus will be on interfacing with special counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia probe and to help bring everything to a conclusion.
The Conservative Treehouse lays out the significance of this announcement – along with a path forward:
The discussion from Mueller’s perspective will not center around Trump, but rather center around how much risk to Hillary Clinton, and by extension political allies within FBI and DOJ – including Obama White House, Mueller will permit.
Mueller will be looking to protect the interests of Obama, Clinton, Lynch, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, etc. and negotiating degrees of risk to the institutions each represents. This is the political horsetrading phase. The leverage cards held by each participant are laid on the table for discussion. Low leverage officials will be sacrificed by Mueller to protect those holding more leverage.
Giuliani is a well qualified person to present the Trump administration position within these negotiations. They are essentially negotiating who faces criminal prosecution and who doesn’t.
Don’t forget, Rudy holds the ultimate Trump card in these negotiations with Mueller. The “Pardon” card. https://t.co/2ZuHWAFENj
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) April 20, 2018
In regards to Mueller’s appointment, I’ve always found the tightness in timing – a May 16th leak to the NYT & a May 17th SC Appointment – a bit…odd.
It’s almost as if an entire team was already in place – working across multiple Agencies and Departments – to undermine a Trump Presidency…
We’ve been writing about the names below for over a year now. Get ready to hear much more about these folks – along with the addition of many new names.
- James Comey – FBI Director – fired May 9, 2017.
- Andrew McCabe – Deputy FBI Director – fired on March 16, 2018.
- James Baker – FBI General Counsel – demoted and reassigned on December 20, 2017.
- Peter Strzok – Deputy Assistant Director of FBI’s Counterintelligence – forced off Mueller’s team – demoted August 16, 2017.
- Lisa Page – FBI/DOJ Lawyer – forced off Mueller’s team – demoted August 16, 2017.
- James Rybicki – Chief of Staff to FBI Director James Comey & successor Chris Wray – resigned/forced out January 23, 2018.
- Josh Campbell – Special Assistant to James Comey – resigned on February 2, 2018.
- Michael Kortan – FBI Asst. Director Public Affairs – resigned on February 8, 2018 – effective February 15, 2018.
- Bill Priestap – Head of FBI Counterintelligence. Holds same position (see why here).
- Loretta Lynch – left on Inauguration.
- Sally Yates – Deputy Attorney General & Acting Attorney General (replacing Loretta Lynch – 10 days) – fired January 30, 2017.
- Bruce Ohr – Associate Deputy Attorney General – demoted twice.
- David Laufman – DOJ National Security Division, Deputy Asst. Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence – resigned on February 7, 2018.
- Rachel Brand – Associate Attorney General – number three official behind Deputy AG Rosenstein – resigned February 9, 2018.
- John Carlin – Assistant Attorney General – Head of DOJ’s National Security Division – announced resignation on September 27, 2016.
- Mary McCord – Acting Assistant Attorney General – Acting Head of DOJ’s National Security Division (replacing John Carlin) – announced resignation on April 17, 2017.
The Intelligence Community:
- John Brennan – CIA Director.
- James Clapper – Director of National Intelligence.
The Obama Administration:
- Susan Rice – left on Inauguration.
- Samantha Power – left on Inauguration.
- Victoria Nuland – left on Inauguration.
The list of people from the Obama Administration is only going to grow.
As we’ve noted before, James Baker (FBI), Peter Strzok (FBI), Lisa Page (FBI/DOJ), and Bruce Ohr (DOJ) remain employed. The only rational explanation is these people are all working with Inspector General Horowitz and Outside Prosecutor John Huber.
Bill Priestap remains as FBI Counterintelligence Head – but presents a different situation entirely. Priestap may have been assisting the Inspector General from the start (discussed here).
In my opinion, there are two fundamental stories that will ultimately unveil the entirety of what’s transpired in Washington:
- John Brennan’s role in establishing the FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation and pushing the Trump-Russia Narrative.
- FISA Abuse committed by the DOJ’s National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.