Former FBI Director James Comey, a thoroughly disingenuous piece of work, lied to the incoming President, reassuring him he wasn’t a target of the FBI in the very meeting that was set up to target him. He met with Trump not so much to offer the typical defensive briefing that every incoming President receives but to get him alone, lay that outrageous “Russian prostitute” story on him and see how he’d react. This was intended by Comey and his cohorts to be a trap. An ambush.
We know this now from the first installment of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, which describes a scenario in which Comey visits President-elect Trump in Trump Tower on January 6, 2017, drops that whopper of a tale from the “dossier” on him, and then --- in a prearranged move --- goes back to his waiting car to his laptop, which has already been set up on a secure hookup for a videoconference, to memorialize that meeting for “Crossfire Hurricane.”
It was the content of his notes that he leaked to the press. Yes, leaked. When the report says he and his lawyers did not leak classified information to the media, that meant “leak directly.” We know Comey got it out there, because he has bragged about it himself, saying he intended for “the content” of his notes to reach the media through the person he DID leak to, and, sure enough, news of the briefing leaked to Jake Tapper and kicked off the “Russia hoax” hysteria. CNN had been eager to fly with the information in the unconfirmed “dossier,” and this briefing with Trump was the “hook” they needed to do that. Then BuzzFeed released the whole “dossier.”
Keep in mind, Comey and his FBI/DOJ/State Department colleagues already knew that Christopher Steele was a terrible source and that his “dossier” was politically motivated and unsupported by evidence, containing stunning inaccuracies. But that didn’t matter --- it suited their purposes.
So, this sanctimonious slimeweasel did leak sensitive information to the media, just indirectly. His clear motivation, as he has said, was to trigger a special counsel investigation against the new President (headed, of course, by his longtime associate and pal Robert Mueller). We as a country suffered through that for almost two years.
The report clearly outlines the purpose of that Trump Tower meeting: “Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious' information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.” In other words, Comey’s team met before the meeting to discuss their hopes that the President-elect would say something incriminating. Absolutely it was a set-up.
This is an utterly shameful, scathing, withering report. (I checked my thesaurus for synonyms: devastating, jaw-dropping, condemning, harsh, negative, staggering, horrific, disgusting.) Beltway people who have seen other such reports have been struck by the language in these pages. It’s clear from this how Comey violated FBI policy repeatedly and why he’s “a dangerous example” to the FBI’s 35,000 employees. Never mind that Attorney General William Barr is not pressing charges at this time on this aspect of the FBI’s activities; he has his reasons, almost certainly including the reality that the case would likely be tried in the Democrat stronghold D.C. court with a D.C. jury and this isn’t the strongest case he’s got against Comey. He needs an absolute slam-dunk for a conviction.
Remember, this was just one tiny part of the case –- which notably includes allegations of FISA fraud to weaponize our intelligence capabilities –- that Barr is still sorting out. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow called this “the pregame show.” Rep. Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee called it “a building block.”
On Thursday, Comey claimed he had been lied about and had the audacity to suggest HE deserved an apology. (Don’t hold your breath, Jim, or, on second thought, DO.) To maintain he was lied about, he has to twist the facts and split hairs so fine they can’t be seen with the naked eye. He doesn’t deserve an apology; Trump does. Mike Flynn does. George Papadopoulos does, and numerous others. The American people do as well, for trying to undo our election and giving us these years of hysterical “Russia, Russia, Russia!” nonsense.
If Barr’s decision not to prosecute (at least for now, for this) makes you mad enough to spit, I suggest you not watch MSNBC, where Chuck Todd blamed Trump for what poor James Comey has been through. “Can we step back here a minute” he said, “and realize how James Comey’s reputation has been just totally eviscerated by the President? Essentially...he’s off the hook here [for] doing anything wrong...The way the report was written, you could tell...the President really is good at this character assassination.”
Laura Ingraham noted that when James Clapper was on CNN Thursday, they didn’t ask him one question about the IG report. On the off-chance your head hasn’t exploded yet, I’ll spare you more quotes from CNN and MSNBC. You may thank me later.
I’ll offer this instead, from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as told to Laura Ingraham: This report “details the worst director in the history of the FBI...This guy... he broke every rule of the FBI. Now, I think he should be prosecuted...They’re giving him a break; they’re basically saying, ‘not enough evidence,’ but he lied, he leaked...he used [the FBI] for political purposes...the report demonstrates all of that...This guy is completely a disgrace in the eyes of any FBI agent. They realize this is worse than anything J. Edgar Hoover ever did.”
That’s saying a lot, to be sure, but Giuliani offers support: “When he walked in when the President was President-elect, and faced him with that [“prostitute” story], he was trying to tell him, ‘I have something on you, so you better keep me in office.’...If J. Edgar Hoover was, up until now, the worst director, this guy has, like, gone way beyond that.”
J. Edgar certainly did do that stuff; maybe we could call it a tie. And to put this in perspective, if you think lack of accountability is a recent development, Hoover remained FBI director until his death in 1972.
One thing we know is that Comey richly deserved to be fired. And to think, Trump’s firing of this guy was labeled “obstruction.” Ironically, Comey’s being fired didn’t stop the FBI from going after Trump --- it intensified their efforts.
As I told Sean Hannity in an appearance Thursday night, it will be sad for the country if this plot went all the way up to the top, to Obama. I happened to be on with Andrew C. McCarthy, who has already laid out a compelling case for that in his new book BALL OF COLLUSION. And, as Joe diGenova said on the Hannity show, “...there is no way you can finish this investigation without interviewing the former President of the United States.”
(You can see that “Hannity” appearance here: https://youtu.be/roi06quyrxs?t=1938 )
The report makes for worthwhile reading, even just the conclusion starting on page 59. You and I would be going to prison if we had done these things.
And here’s an outstanding opinion piece on the report, from Byron York.