Thursday, April 19, 2018
James Comey Is Coming Unraveled in Full Public View
THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THAT JAMES COMEY IS UNRAVELING. It seems that former FBI Driector James Comey wants to be loved. His recent meanderings in front of TV cameras portray someone who is desperately looking for a political home. But, his latest effort is downright foolish -- or Fake. • • • LifeZette reports that when WTOP’s Joan Jones asked Comey on Wednesday if the “smashing of cellphones and destruction of thousands of emails” during the investigation into Hillary Clinton was “obstruction of justice,” Comey said that he had never been asked that question before. Joan Jones persisted : “You have raised the specter of obstruction of justice charges with the President of the United States,” referring to his new book, 'A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. 'Some are asking, though, ‘Why wouldn’t smashing of cellphones and destruction of thousands of emails during an investigation clearly be obstruction of justice?' ” Comey's reply was astounding : “Now that’s a great question. That’s the first time I’ve been asked that.” • Of course, Joan Jones was talking about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton using a private email server to conduct official business while serving as Secretary of State. When the FBI released its report of its investigation into Clinton’s conduct in September 2016, it was revealed that her aides destroyed two mobile phones “by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer” and deleting emails using BleachBit. The revelations caused an uproar in Congress and hit Hillary hard on the campaign trail. • Of course, we know that Comey has been asked whether he believed President Donald Trump committed “obstruction of justice” by firing him in May 2017 or by asking him about the investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he believes Trump “possibly” obstructed justice, arguing that “certainly” there was “some evidence of obstruction of justice.” • And, Comey himself wrote in his book that he threatened to call for a special counsel over Clinton emails. • Mainstream media, liberal hacks, and lawmakers have been obsessed about possible obstruction of justice charges being brought against President Trump, deeing his impeachment as a result, BUT, these same individuals show, wrotes LifeZette "a marked lack of interest in whether or not Clinton and her team obstructed justice." • Comey tried to provide a "legal" answer for Joan Jones : "And the answer is, it would depend upon what the intent of the people doing it was," Comey said. "It's the reason I can't say when people ask me, 'Did Donald Trump committee obstruction of justice?' My answer is, 'I don't know. It could be. It would depend upon, is there evidence to establish that he took actions with corrupt intent? So if you smash a cellphone, lots of people smash their cellphones so they're not resold on the secondary market and your personal stuff ends up in somebody else's hands," Comey continued. "But, if you smash your cellphone knowing that investigators want it and that they've got a subpoena for it, for example, that is a different thing and can be obstruction of justice." When Jones followed up by asking "The law requires intent?" Comey replied : "Yes. It requires not just intent, but the prosecutors demonstrate corrupt intent, which is a special kind of intent that you were taking actions with the intention of defeating and obstructing an investigation you knew was going on." He went on to tell Jones : "I care about the public's trust. I don't care about politics." Then, when it was pointed out that Comey had been largely viewed as a "professional" without overt political bias prior to his conduct during the 2016 election, and the host asked whether Comey felt "like you've now undercut that image a bit?" Comey again noted : "I hope not. I think the actions I had to take before the election made everybody hate me on both wings of our partisan divide. And I hope that's some indication that I'm not acting in a political way. I care about the public's trust. I don't care about politics. And I really appreciate these good questions." • • • WHAT KIND OF AN FBI DIRECTOR WAS COMEY? Obviously not a very curious or smart one. NO lawyer waits for somebody to point them toward possible crimes -- they line up the facts and then do research to find all possible crimes included in those facts -- that is, those crimes that don't leap out at them because of their professional experience. So, for James Comey to say that nobody ever asked him that question is either a farce or proof that Comey is not a very good lawyer, let alone one deserving to head the FBI. He gave Joan Jones a rather exact legal description of obstruction of justice. He told her why he could not be sure that President Trump obstructed justice -- because he has no indication of Trump's intent. He clearly knows all about obstruction of justice, as well he should -- all FBI Directors are steeped in situations involving obstruction of justice. • BUT, Comey's demeanor and words with Joan Jones suggest that he never considered that Hillary's hacks breaking up her cellphones and using BleachBit to erase all the emails she had conveniently decided were "personal" could rise to the level of Obstruction of Justice. Give me a break!!! • Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Fox News on Monday : “I really thought [Comey] demeaned the FBI by leaking material about unsubstantiated allegations, by trafficking in gossip. But he had no courage or guts to speak himself in front of the TV. He laundered it through a law professor and gave the worst excuse last night.” Dershowitz was talking about the Comey interview on ABC News’ “20/20” Sunday night. Comey stated while testifying to Congress last year that he asked a friend of his, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, to leak his memos recounting a meeting with Trump to the press. He told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he didn’t “want to get involved” in commenting on “whether you can leak unclassified information.” Dershowitez told Fox : "This is a man without courage," arguing that the former FBI director had an obligation to tell Trump to his face at the time if he believed Trump was erring. "[Comey] didn't have courage to tell the President to his face he was wrong. Instead, he leaked it. He didn't have courage to walk out of the meeting, which he said was an improper meeting. When he was in the presence of the President, he showed no courage." • We know also that Comey didn't have the courage to tell his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, that she was wrong to order him to call the Hillary investigation a "matter" instead of calling it what it was -- a criminal investigation. • And, it appears that Comey also did not have the courage to impanel a grand jury to continue the criminal investigation of Hillary's "extremely careless" use of a private email server while Secretary of State. He preferred to tell the world that she could not be pursued criminally because "no prosecutor" would take that case. But, Comey did have the courage to tell Stephanopoulos that he thought at the time Hillary would be elected President. • Comey apparently also did not have the courage to fire, or at least reprimand, his deputy Andrew McCabe after he was told that McCabe had leaked information abotu an ongoing criminal investigation (of Hillary) and then lied to his superiors, including Comey, about it. • That is a lot of spinelessness, coming from the man who was at the time America's "top cop" • • • HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE IS TIRED OF DOJ STONEWALLING. TheHill reported on Wednesday that Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is expected to subpoena the Department of Justice (DOJ) as soon as this week to obtain copies of the so-called Comey memos -- these are the classified memos that Comey says "memorialize' his meetings with President Trump -- the memos he illegally leaked to his friend for further leaking to the New York Times. Not only is Comey a coward, he is also a prodigious leaker. • Goodlatte is expected to issue the order to pressure the agency into granting access so lawmakers can review the seven memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote last year documenting his interactions with President Trump, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Goodlatte on Wednesday made the required notifification to the ranking Democrat on the Committee that a subpoena is coming. TheHill says the order "comes after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked three powerful House lawmakers -- Goodlatte, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) -- to give him extra time to consult with the 'relevant parties' on whether he can make the memos available to them." Rosenstein told lawmakers on Monday that the Comey memos may relate to an “ongoing investigation,” contain confidential information and "report confidential presidential communications" so they have a "legal a duty to evaluate the consequences of providing access to them," according to copy of the letter obtained by TheHill. Lawmakers suggested the relevant parties that must be consulted could mean both the White House and special counsel Robert Mueller's team. TheHill says that : "If the Comey memos relate to Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling, then lawmakers may face obstacles getting the DOJ to provide the information." • • • AND NOW WE LEARN THAT THE OBAMA DOJ TRIED TO SHUT DOWN A CLINTON FOUNDATION INVESTIGATION. The Daily Caller reported on Sunday that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz' report claiming “lack of candor” by former FBI deputy Director McCabe "also details Justice Department’s influence to close a multi-state investigation into the Clinton Foundation." The IG claims McCabe leaked DOJ’s pressure to end the Clinton investigation to battle claims he was partial to the Clintons. The DOJ IG report for the first time outlines the Obama administration’s effort to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation, according to a review of the report by The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group. The Daily Caller says : "The [IG] confirmed in its long-awaited report released Friday that in 2016 the FBI had ongoing field investigations of the Clinton Foundation in New York, Los Angeles, Little Rock, Arkansas and Washington, DC. The multi-city investigation was launched when agents found 'suspicious activity' between a foreign donor and Clinton Foundation activity in the Los Angeles area, as The [Daily Caller] reported in August 2016. The report, authored by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, an Obama appointee, chronicles the Justice Department’s effort to to shut down the FBI’s investigation on August 12, 2016. The pressure allegedly came in the form of a phone call to McCabe from a Justice Department principal associate deputy attorney general (PADAG) who pressed McCabe on the continuing investigation. The IG did not identify which PADAG made the call." • It was important the pressure for ending the investigation wzs delivered in a phone call and not in a written document, former FBI assistant Director Ronald Hosko told the Daily Caller : “They did it in a phone call, which is maybe a little more difficult to serve up as evidence." Hosko said that by giving a verbal order, the Justice Department “chose not to document it by design. It makes it harder to reconstruct. But that might be part of the goal, right?” he noted. • Hosko served in the FBI for 30 years. His last post was as the assistant director for the bureau’s highly regarded criminal investigation division under former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Eric Holder. • Loretta Lynch was attorney general at the time of the August call to halt the Clinton Foundation investigation. She had been caught privately meeting with former President Bill Clinton in June 2016 on her government aircraft on the tarmac in Phoenix. That meeting occurred only days before Comey decided not to pursue criminal charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the use of a personal email server that she used to conduct official Department of State business. Lynch later claimed the Phoenix meeting was “innocuous” and a “chance encounter.” • The Daily Caller said the report states that McCabe was worried about an October 23, 2016, Wall Street Journal article, which appeared to have damaged his reputation for impartiality because the journalist, Devlin Barrett, reported McCabe’s wife received a campaign donation of nearly a half million dollars from Clinton friend and political ally Terry McAuliffe for her run for a Virginia state seat. In an alleged attempt to show he wasn’t impartial to the Clintons, McCabe leaked information to Barrett a week later that claimed he personally fought the Justice Department’s attempt to shut down the FBI’s investigation, according to the Inspector General’s report. Barrett’s article appeared on October 30 and was titled, “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” • The August 2016 phone call between McCabe and the senior Justice Department official was acrimonious, the IG reported. “McCabe acknowledged that the PADAG call was a very memorable event in McCabe’s career. It involved a dramatic confrontation between McCabe and the principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, one of the highest ranking officials in the Department. McCabe told the OIG that, despite his long career in the FBI, he had never had a conversation ‘like this one’ with a high level Department of Justice official before or since August 12, 2016,” the IG wrote. • McCabe authorized FBI officials to leak the information about the August 12 call, the IG claims : “Specifically, McCabe stated that he authorized Special Counsel and AD/OPA to provide to Barrett the account of his August 12 call with PADAG because McCabe thought it was the ‘best example’ to counter the 'incredibly damaging' narrative in Barrett’s intended story,' ” the report reads. • Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Sunday that he thought the idea of shutting down the Clinton Foundation investigation could have emanated from the White House and not just the Justice Department : “Well it may well go higher up. It may even go all into the Obama White House.” Goodlatte said he was worried about “how the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the investigation into all the aspects of what was going on with Hillary Clinton, with her emails, with the Clinton Foundation, so on, bending over backwards to not prosecute, to not investigate properly, to not continue to investigate is very disturbing.” • AND, are we surprised that the IG’s report also indirectly criticizes Comey, who cooperated with the Justice Department’s plan to remain silent about the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation. The IG noted in his report that Comey repeatedly refused to confirm to Congress if the bureau was looking into financial crimes or influential peddling by the Foundation, which was amassing hundreds of millions of dollars from special interests in the US and abroad. The Daily Caller says the IG spelled out Comey’s silence about their Foundation investigation, recounting : " 'before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 7, 2016, FBI Director Comey refused to answer questions about whether the FBI was investigating the Clinton Foundation. Comey stated that he was ‘not going to comment on the existence or nonexistence’ of the [Clinton Foundation] Investigation.' Similarly, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on September 28, 2016, Comey refused to confirm or deny two different investigations during an FBI oversight hearing. He stated : 'our standard is we do not confirm or deny the existence of investigations,' the IG’s office reported." • Hosko told Fox News it was “troubling” that the Obama administration was trying to shut down not a single probe, but four FBI investigations : “There were multiple field offices. So you’re saying all four field offices got it wrong?” FBI agents in the four cities “were collecting information about the Clinton Foundation to see if there was evidence of financial crimes or influence-peddling, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal's Barrett reported at the time. "Some investigators grew frustrated, viewing FBI leadership as uninterested in probing the charity, these people said. Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying Mr. McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case." • IG Horowitz says in his report that McCabe’s decision to leak the information about the FBI’s probe of the foundation was not an attempt to be open and transparent, but to salvage his own reputation : “Had McCabe’s primary concern actually been to reassure the public that the FBI was pursuing the CF Investigation despite the anonymous claims in the article, the way that the FBI and the Department would usually accomplish that goal is through a public statement reassuring the public that the FBI is investigating the matter.” The IG stated his leak was “directed primarily at enhancing McCabe’s reputation at the expense of PADAG. McCabe’s disclosure was an attempt to make himself look good by making senior department leadership, specifically the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, look bad....We concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception." • What we do not know -- yet -- is whether and how much additional pressure the Obama administration applied to the FBI to end its investigation of the Clinton Foundation. The IG’s initial report is silent on this point. But, the IG is expected to soon release other reports about other potential FBI misconduct. • • • WILL IT BE McCABE VS COMEY? McCabe has denied doing anything wrong. Shortly after he as fired by Attorney General Sessionsn McCabe issued a statement : "This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement and intelligence professionals more generally."AND, iIn a letter submitted by McCabe’s counsel after reviewing a draft of the report, McCabe argues that “the OIG should credit Mr. McCabe’s account over Director Comey’s” and complains that the report “paints Director Comey as a white knight carefully guarding FBI information, while overlooking that Mr. McCabe’s account is more credible for at least three key reasons ...” McCabe's counsel, Michael Bromwich, in a statement to Fox News, slammed the OIG report : "The core weakness of the OIG report is the lack of any understandable motive for his alleged wrongdoing. It is undisputed that Mr. McCabe was one of three senior FBI officials authorized to share information with the media, including on sensitive investigative matters. He chose to exercise that authority in October 2016, during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the bureau, with the knowledge of Director Comey and other senior members of FBI management. His purpose was to protect the institutional reputation of the FBI against false claims, including that a sensitive investigation was being shut down for political reasons." McCabe and Bromwich are trying to cast doubt on Jim Comey's credibility by saying that Comey's "recollection" as "not at all clear" : "Mr. McCabe’s recollection of discussions he had with Director Comey about this issue is extremely clear; Director Comey’s recollection is, by his own acknowledgment, not at all clear. And yet two of the lack of candor allegations are based on Director Comey’s admittedly vague and uncertain recollection of those discussions." • "[W]e concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception," the report says. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte agreed about that McCabe argument : "According to the inspector general report, Mr. McCabe repeatedly lied under oath about the disclosure of information to a reporter. In doing so, he not only violated FBI policy, but he may have committed a federal crime." • • • WHERE DOES ALL THIS LEAVE COMEY? National Review's Jim Geraghty wrote : "I suspect the vast majority of FBI agents and officials want to think of themselves as above or beyond America’s partisan divide; they wake up every morning and set out to investigate crimes and enforce the laws, without fear or favor. I believe that most FBI agents do their best to meet this fair-minded standard. But it only takes a few bad examples to shake the public’s faith in the bureau’s lack of partisanship or partiality. How will Americans feel when they see James Comey laughing it up with Stephen Colbert?" • Fox News journalist Catherine Herridge wrote last week : "Is Comey a serial leaker?" Herridge reported on a transcript of a private meeting between Comey and senior FBI agents that took place in October, 2016 : "Defending his July 2016 public statement about the Hillary Clinton email case, then-FBI Director James Comey told senior agents later that year he worried the Justice Department would 'screw around' with a decision on whether to prosecute her, and he said that regardless of what happened, 'we knew it was going to suck in a huge way,' according to an FBI transcript reviewed by Fox News. In October 2016, Michael Kortan, who was serving as the FBI's public affairs chief but has since retired, shared the transcript of Comey's comments on the Clinton case delivered behind closed doors to special agents in charge. Based on the email date and time stamps, it appears the comments were made three weeks before the presidential election. With Comey now launching a media tour to promote his book...the transcript provides a window into his thinking and decisions during a critical period before the election." According to the transcript, Comey told agents he went back and forth on how to handle the recommendation against criminal charges, after then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton on an Arizona airport tarmac in June 2016 : "The decision that there wasn't a prosecutable case here was not a hard one. The hard one, as I've told you, was how do we communicate about it. I decided to do something unprecedented that I was very nervous about at the time, and I've asked myself a thousand times since, was it the right decision. I still believe it was." Herridge says : "Comey said he thought the FBI should have taken the lead because following standard procedures was not an option....'what will happen to us is the Department of Justice will screw around it for Lord knows how long, issue probably a one sentence declination, and then the world will catch on fire, and then the cry in the public will be where on the earth is the FBI, how could the FBI be part of some corrupt political bargain like this, there's no transparency whatsoever....We knew it was going to suck in a huge way. I knew. Nothing's (sic) that's happened, by the way, the storm has been outside my expectations. I knew what was going to happen, but I also knew after a lot of reflection that we would do far more damage to our beloved institution if we did the normal thing." • Comey also relayed to senior agents a conversation he said he had with Lynch before the July 2016 announcement : " 'Madam Attorney General, I'm about to do a press conference, and I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to say.' She asked some question. I don't remember what it was, and I said, 'I'm sorry. I'm not going to answer approximately (sic) questions. I hope someday you'll understand why, but I think it's very, very important that I do this independently.' " • Herridge reports that : "Using colorful language, Comey also said agents would likely be fired for using a personal unsecured server like Secretary of State Clinton did for government business, and pushed back on criticism of the FBI's handling of the case. Comey responded to emails from FBI employees who said, 'if I did what Hillary Clinton did I'd be in huge trouble.' He replied, 'My response is you bet your a-- you'd be in huge trouble. If you used a personal email, Gmail or if you (had) the capabilities to set up your own email domain, if you used an unclassified personal email system to do our business in the course of doing our business even though you were communicating with people with clearances and doing work you discussed classified matters in that, in those communications, TSSCI (Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information), special access program (SAP), you would be in huge trouble in the FBI. You would not be able to say to us, 'The people I was emailing with were cleared. It was all in the course of the work.' You might well get fired from the FBI. You would surely be disciplined in some severe way if you didn't get fired. Of that I am highly confident.' He then seemed to reinforce his controversial recommendation against criminal charges in the Clinton case for the mishandling of classified information, that under the criminal statute, does not require intent. 'I'm also highly confident, in fact, certain you would not be criminally prosecuted for that conduct. Why do I say that? Because I have personally gone back through every case in the last 50 years that was prosecuted. Nothing close to these facts was ever prosecuted. You would be in trouble. You would not be prosecuted.' " • • • DEAR READERS, the BIG hole in Comey's defense of his probably corrupt act in forgiving Hillary's use of a private server is that, as he told his agents "NOTHING close to these facts was ever prosecuted." In fact, nothing close to the Hillary facts had ever occurred in the history of the United States. That is NOT a reason to excuse her. It is a reason to make an example of her "extremely careless" actions by testing them in a court of law. That the Hillary investigation was botched, swept under the rug, and covered up for political reasons is clear when we consider that many on the FBI team that carried out the investigation have since been demoted, fired, or re-assigned as a result of the IG investigation and report -- including deputy director Andrew McCabe; Peter Strzok, deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division; Strzok’s mistress and FBI attorney Lisa Page, who was reassigned; and Michael Kortan, the FBI public affairs chief, who announced his retirement in February. • Catherine Herridge also points out that in a redacted part of the transcript, Comey spoke of the challenge in "trying to get a lawyer to give you their laptop that you use for all of their legal work. Huge concerns there about attorney-client privilege, attorney work product. He had a few options there." It was unclear who "he" was. • Comey said, “Near the end of this Investigation, we knew that two of Secretary Clinton’s lawyers had done a culling where they went through the emails and decided which ones were work related and which ones weren’t, which ones could be deleted, which ones would be kept and produced.“ Herridge goes on : "FBI interviews known as 302s revealed that only 12 of 14 bankers boxes of Clinton's emails were picked up from the law firm Williams & Connolly. David Kendall, an attorney at the firm, has represented Bill and Hillary Clinton together and separately, from the former President’s sex scandals to the missing billing records reflecting Hillary Clinton’s work as a partner in the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. Comey told agents they could 'ask me more questions about this (and) obviously Bill Priestap knows this case (very) well. Andy (McCabe) knows this case very well.' This comment is striking because Comey testified in 2017 that Priestap -- who reported to Comey as the assistant director of counterintelligence -- told him not to inform congressional leadership about the bureau's investigation into alleged contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. [Comey ended the agents meeting with this] 'It is silly. Silly is the right word to suggest the FBI did anything other than our usual professional work here. I’m very proud of the work we did.' " • Proud?? COMPARE the FBI's treatment of Hillary's lawyers -- in fact, the FBI let Hillary aide and lawyer Cheryl Mills keep her laptop after her non-transcribed, not-under-oath questioning after she had been granted an immunity deal -- with Mueller's treatment of the work product and client files of Michael Cohen, President Trump's lawyer, whose offices were raided and who has been put under criminal investigation. Justice?? None !! • Former FBI agent James Gagliano said Comey's current actions are against DOJ policy : “He's discussing matters that are relevant and salient to an open or ongoing investigation or case, i.e., the Russia probe; i.e., the Inspector General's probe; i.e., a number of different congressional probes still going on right now." Mueller must be in shock over the legal moves Comey has offered Mueller's targets because of Comey's loose tongued and sometimes contradictory statements about what was going on at the FBI and DOJ in 2016 and early 2017. OR, it is their joint plan to allow Mueller write a report that says he cannot prosecute because of all that is now in the public domain -- that would let both Mueller and Comey off the hook! • Deplorables are not stupid. If James Comey was ever anything but a political hack, he certainly now has become one. And, his weepy interviews about wanting to be above politics and just do the right thing are an egregious offense to our intelligence as a nation.