National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives in the east Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, for a news conference with President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. . (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
As we found out last week, the DOJ Inspector General released a stand alone report on the actions of disgraced FBI Director James Comey. This dealt with his mishandling of classified information and involved a criminal referral, which the DOJ decided not to pursue because that’s Washington D.C. for you.
Regardless, what the report did was paint a damning picture of Comey’s behavior, from illegal possession of classified material, to how he was using the bureau to chase after his own, mindless conspiracy theories. Through the report, we learned that the now infamous briefing with Trump about the Steele Dossier was actually a setup in hopes the President would incriminate himself.
Perhaps Trump would say something incriminating. The FBI officials made plans for Comey, immediately after leaving the meeting, to write down everything he could remember about whatever Trump said. Comey also wanted to discuss Trump’s reactions with top aides immediately. Comey told the inspector general it was “important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the salient details of those conversations.’” Bureau officials also wanted to be able to respond if Trump publicly “misrepresent[ed] what happened in the encounter.”
So, preparations were made. “Comey said he had a secure FBI laptop waiting for him in his FBI vehicle and that when he got into the vehicle, he was handed the laptop and ‘began typing as the vehicle moved,’” the report says. He worked on his account as the FBI car took him to the New York field office, where aides had set up a secure video teleconference with Rybicki, McCabe, Baker, and the “Crossfire Hurricane” supervisors. Comey continued to work on his memo after that and sent the group a final version the next day, Saturday, Jan. 7.
While the IG report exposed ridiculous, partisan behavior like the above, it also killed yet another collusion myth. Recall one of the most talked about pieces of evidence against Trump, supposedly showing he wanted to squash the Russia investigation and was willing to obstruct justice to do so.
I’m talking about the now infamous conversation between Trump and James Comey over Michael Flynn’s phone call with the Russian ambassador.
This via Julie Kelly at American Greatness.
“He misled the Vice President but he didn’t do anything wrong in the call,” Comey claimed Trump said to him. “[Trump] said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”
According to Russian collusion truthers, those alleged comments form the most convincing evidence that Team Trump not only conspired with the Russians and tried to cover it up, but that the president broke the law by asking his FBI director to halt an investigation into one of his top advisors.
If you’ve never seen that first line reported, you aren’t alone. It’s been omitted in nearly every mainstream media screed on this incident. What it shows is that Trump had absolutely no intent to hamper a real criminal investigation. In fact, he rightly pointed out that Flynn had done nothing wrong, something the FBI themselves would conclude in short order. There was nothing illegal about Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador about sanctions during the transition. It’s exactly the kind of conversation you’d expect an incoming administration to have.
But the media went wild. Trump had obstructed justice and Flynn had violated the Logan Act (which the media would eventually decide doesn’t matter the moment John Kerry blatantly violated it). Further, Trump’s actions showed that he was colluding with the Russians because he didn’t want his campaign investigated.
But if the generally accepted interpretation of the Flynn memo—that Trump asked Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into Flynn for being in cahoots with the Russians—is true, it indeed contained what undoubtedly is classified information. According to federal guidelines, government material meets the classification threshold if it pertains to “foreign government information” and/or “intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods.”
Comey and the president would have been discussing a counterintelligence probe which by its very definition deals with threats from foreign governments. It would have pertained to information derived from an intercepted phone call with an agent of a foreign power. It would have disclosed law enforcement activity to uncover how a global foe disrupted a U.S. presidential election with the aid of traitorous American citizens.
But here is why the FBI didn’t mark the Flynn memo as classified: Trump wasn’t talking about the Russia investigation—and the corrupt chiefs at the FBI who analyzed the Flynn memo knew it.
I’ll take it a step further. Comey purposely didn’t mark it as classified because 1) he knew Trump wasn’t talking about the Russia investigation but also 2) he wanted to be able to leak it without legal repercussions. Both are corrupt.
In fact, in Comey’s memo, he admits Trump was talking specifically about Flynn and not a broader investigation into his associates.
Still, the media ran with the untrue assertion that Trump was wanting to shut everything down.
The resulting article, however, did not report that Trump asked Comey to drop an FBI inquiry into Flynn’s false statements. The Times’ story published May 16, “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End the Flynn Investigation,” rocked the political world. Reporter Michael Schmidt wrote that “the documentation of Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Trump’s associates and Russia.”
News outlets piled on the bogus storyline: “[Comey] should come back to the Congress and share with us what he knows in terms of the president’s conversations with him on any of the Russian investigations,” Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told the Washington Post.
The next day, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate so-called collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to influence the 2016 election.
In other words, the special counsel was appointed on the false premise that Trump was attempting to obstruct the Russia investigation. In reality he didn’t even know it existed because the FBI were inconceivably hiding it from him. They wouldn’t admit to him that his campaign was under investigation until March of 2017, a month later.
We would spend the next 2 years arguing about something that didn’t even happen but would reach mythical proportions on the left and within mainstream media circles. Outlets like The New York Times would structure their entire newsrooms just to print negative story after negative story, almost always based on anonymous sources that would turn out to be wrong.
None of this had to happen. But it did because of corrupt officials in our government and a more than eager media ready to do their bidding. Now that things have cooled off, it’s easy to forget just how insane things got before Mueller’s public testimony poured cold water on everything. The fever pitch, the slander, the destroyed lives. All of it still matters and it’s about time the DOJ takes action to secure justice.
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