This is a developing story that could have major implications; we’ll have more soon. On Friday, FBI general counsel Dana Boente, a career FBI/DOJ official who as acting deputy attorney general signed at least one of the FISA warrant renewals on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page, turned in his resignation letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
This occurs just as Lindsey Graham is getting ready to start Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the “Trump/Russia” investigation. (Opening salvo: Wednesday, with Rod Rosenstein.) And in May, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that there would be an internal “after-action” review of the FBI’s handling of the Michael Flynn case to determine whether current FBI employees “engaged in misconduct.”
Boente remains on the job for now; June 30 is the date being given for his departure. That seems odd; if he sees the last-minute need to delete/shred/eat any evidence of wrongdoing before heading out the door, it would seem this is his chance. So, until he leaves, will he still be considered a current employee and therefore subject to Wray’s internal review? Not that we'd have confidence in Wray to DO a thorough internal review...
Before his stint as FBI general counsel, Boente served as acting attorney general, acting deputy attorney general, acting assistant attorney general of the National Security Division at the Justice Department (try fitting that on a business card), and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Director Wray offered a heartfelt if not downright flowery going-away statement.
Mainstream news outlets are spinning this with phrases such as “FOX NEWS criticism” and “pressure from Trump.” But TheConservativeTreehouse.com has a different take in their extremely comprehensive report, saying, “Finally, the DOJ has moved to remove one of the biggest background corrupt officials within the FBI...finally sunlight has removed a very corrupt player.”
We have yet to wade through the whole thing, but Boente, according to this report, was “at the epicenter of corrupt intent and malign activity toward the Trump administration.” The piece offers several instances of Boente’s questionable actions, including his coordination with Wray to block release of documents on the Flynn case until Attorney General Bill Barr intervened. This implies nothing but the worst about Wray as well. AG Barr, not Wray, reportedly was the one who wanted Boente “retired.”
As infrequently as we’ve heard his name, Boente reportedly was the official to whom all the corrupt players on Robert Mueller’s team reported. And according to this report, “Boente’s role as a manipulative fixer to protect the ongoing corrupt action of the Mueller probe was exactly why FBI Director Chris Wray hired him.”
Boente is apparently the one who kept State Department official Kathleen Kavelec’s notes expressing concerns about Christopher Steele and the “dossier” hidden from both the FISA court and Congress. His job seems to have been to bury information and protect the team while they went about their nefarious business. As another example of protection, recall all those redactions that turned out to have nothing to do with national security, simply to cover up what would otherwise reveal what certain FBI officials were up to.
What we learn here about Boente’s apparent behind-the-scenes role as an “embed” covering for his colleagues might answer a lot of nagging questions, such as how certain anti-Trump people got their jobs in the first place. This piece even offers, perhaps unwittingly, what is to me, the perfect formal definition of “the D.C. swamp” in recent years: “a matrix of broad interests positioned only to benefit and sustain the status quo of the administrative state and protect the larger D.C. community from the Trump disruption.”
There’s also a story here about Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and the so-called "Russian hack” of the DNC servers. Much more to come. It looks as though Durham is getting close on a lot of this.